Potholed roads, violation of traffic rules, overloaded and illegally extended vehicles and carelessness are leading to many road accidents daily in the state and elsewhere.
According to the national crime record bureau, Punjab witnessed about 6,328 road accidents in 2012 and they led to the death of 75% (4,795) of them.
On an average, there are 17 accidents and 13 deaths daily from road accidents in the state. Some of the accidents, in which there is no loss of life, go unreported. Sometimes, the accidents, where victims get seriously injured, are not even registered by the police.
When accidents take place, newspapers and TV channels report them.
Police register cases. People read about them as a news. Compensation, if any, is given mostly in death cases, that too after a protracted legal battle.
But, the trauma some victims of accidents and their families undergo is nobody’s concern. Sometimes, the entire life of a victim changes for the worse after an accident.
Jasvir Singh, 38 now, who was a Punjab police employee, slipped into coma about 14 months ago when he was reportedly injured in a road accident near his village while coming back home from duty. Now, there is only teenaged daughter and wife to look after him round-the-clock.
“Manjeet was allegedly hit by a tractor-trolley on March 26, 2013, and since then he has been lying in coma,” says his neighbour, Bohar Singh.
Raju, a resident of Kotkapura, who was allegedly hit by a vehicle on the Moga road, when he was driving home his bike on the evening of July 24, 2010, has been in coma for about four years. He had got serious head injury.
“We have spent lakhs of rupees on his treatment, but to no avail. Now my mother and I are looking after him for four years,” says his brother.
“We do not know about the police action in the case as we had to remain in hospitals afterwards and got disturbed a lot by the accident,” he said.
He was married and his wife and a small daughter left him to stay with her parents.
Another man from Kotkapura, Manjeet Singh, 40, who had slipped into coma after an accident on December 10, 2010 died two weeks ago after remaining in coma for more than three years. He belonged to an economically backward class from Basti Des Raj in Kotkapura.
“My father expired after reaming in coma for years and nobody helped us. We had to give up our studies after the accident,” said Manpreet Kaur, one of his three his siblings.
“As he was a home guard jawan then, he was not able to get any government help because they said he was a temporary employee. But, the accident left the family shattered,” Manpreet said. The family also alleged that the Moga police did not register an FIR as the other party was an influential one.
“If traffic rules are enforced strictly and the condition of roads is made better, the number of road accidents can be brought down considerably. Most of the people are seen flouting traffic rules right under the nose of the transport authorities and the traffic police,” said Darshan Singh, former sarpanch of Dhilwan Kalan village.