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Rural ?way? to highway awareness

india Updated: Dec 16, 2006 11:32 IST
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ONE WILL soon find Bhauti Pratap Pur, a dusky village under the Sachendi police station of Kanpur district qualitatively different from the State’s other villages as far as the residents’ level of awareness and habit of following the road safety rules were concerned.

The Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE) Delhi, has in close coordination with the State’s traffic department, adopted the village on National Highway-2 (Delhi-Kolkatta) for its conversion into an ideal road safety village under the National Highway Development Programme (NHDP). The NHDP being implemented by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and funded by the Word Bank is a major initiative towards reducing road accidents on National Highways. The IRTE has undertaken the assigned task of safety education.

“This village is one of the most accident prone spots as identified by the traffic police department,” said IRTE president Rohit Baluja while talking to the Hindustan Times on phone from Delhi. He said while breadth of Highways had increased and speed and number of vehicles had also increased, the level of people’s awareness of road safety rules had remained the same, leading to more accidents. Baluja said that the NHAI would create awareness among the people of all the critical villages falling on the National Highways.

Significantly, Bhauti Pratap Pur, as deputy director (traffic) Poornima Singh pointed out “is the country’s first village having been selected for its conversion into a model village from traffic safety point of view.”

To make this village an ideal road safety village, the IRTE has already conducted a detailed survey and road safety audit. A 10-km stretch has been taken (five km on either side) of the village. “This stretch will become zero accident zone after we complete the project by January end,” claimed IRTE faculty, VS Kannan.

Several road safety initiatives have already been taken up in the village.

Recently, a two-member IRTE team undertook various programmes in the village on December 1 and 2. The programmes were conducted in association with village pradhan Jai Hind and traffic sub-inspector Hari Shankar.

A road safety interaction programme was conducted with students of the Bhauti Inter College, where road safety practices were shared. Thereafter, a joint team of IRTE, village leaders and the traffic police visited the highway to assess the engineering shortcomings as well as unsafe practices by the villagers and the road users.

The IRTE team again visited the village on December 7 and stayed there till December 13, interacting with and educating the villages. The team will return soon this month itself to take up programmes like exposing the students to road safety, organising awareness programmes for the village population, affixing reflectors on bicycles and other non-motorised transport. Road shows to demonstrate the problems will also be undertaken.

The NHAI will be requested to resolve engineering problems. The Traffic Police will support the enforcement “and with all these three efforts, it is anticipated that a beginning could be made in making the Bhauti Village, an example of safety, said Baluja.

An IRTE engineer Aman Vedi claimed that the level of awareness among the people of the Bhauti Pratap Pur had already gone up and their response to the awareness had substantially gone up. He said Sikri in Haryana was the country’s second village where the traffic safety project was being implemented.