Uttarakhand HC gives recommendations to bring down road fatalities in state | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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Uttarakhand HC gives recommendations to bring down road fatalities in state

The tragic accident in Pauri where private bus fell into a gorge killing at least 48 people has once again put the focus on the traffic management and safety in Uttarakhand — two issues on which the high court has both questioned the state government and suggested remedial measures in the recent past

dehradun Updated: Jul 08, 2018 21:42 IST
Neeraj Santoshi
Neeraj Santoshi
Hindustan Times, Nainital
Uttarakhand high court in Nainital. (HT Photo)

The tragic accident in Pauri where private bus fell into a gorge killing at least 48 people has once again put the focus on the traffic management and safety in Uttarakhand — two issues on which the high court has both questioned the state government and suggested remedial measures in the recent past.

Though the exact cause of the accident was not yet known, the bus was carrying passengers much beyond its seating capacity of 28.

Taking up three different public interest litigations in the past few months, an angry high court not only expanded their scope but also asked the government to explain why the traffic management in the districts should not be outsourced to an expert agency.

It also issued notices to principal secretary, home; principal secretary, state transport department; secretary, union ministry of road and transport; and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to explain why authorities concerned in Uttarakhand were unable properly manage traffic issues across the state.

During the course of the hearings, the HC offered seven important directions and recommendations on how to reduce road accidents and improve traffic management in the mountain state.

Ban transport of iron bars in smaller vehicles

Stressing that many valuable lives are lost due to the reckless act of the owners of the transport vehicles, on June 18, the Uttarakhand HC banned the transportation of iron rods (sariyas), iron sheets, girdles, steel pipes and plastic pipes beyond the structural length of the transport vehicles. The bamn would remain in effect till the time the state government makes rules banning their transportation in vehicles smaller in proportion to their length.

Cancel licence of drivers caught using cellphones

The high court, on June 18, also directed the state government to issue necessary instructions to cancel the licenses of those found using cell phones while driving. It ordered that till the state government comes out with the necessary amendment/notification, a fine of Rs 5000 be charged from every violator using the cellphone while driving. The court said that drivers using a cellphone while driving “endanger their lives as well as the lives of others.”

Don’t allow two-wheeler drivers sans helmets

Taking judicial notice of the fact that 50 per cent of the scooterists/ motorcyclists are not “using protective headgear as ordained under Section 129 of Motor Vehicles Act, 19...seriously entailing injuries to themselves,” the HC ordered that no two wheeler driver be permitted to ply their vehicle without wearing the helmet of ISI mark. HC said the senior superintendents of police and circle officers shall be personally responsible to implement this order.

Don’t issues driving license to minors

The HC has directed the Uttarakhand government to ensure that no minors were issued any driving licenses and that they were not permitted to drive any vehicle. The principals/head of all the educational institutions in state have been asked to make the students aware of the HC directions in this regard and cooperate for their due implementation in larger public interest

Book a parking space then enter Nainital

The traffic situation in and around Nainital has been worsening over the years, especially during peak tourist season. Against this backdrop, in April, while hearing a PIL, the HC directed the authorities to ensure that those wishing to come to the hill station in their own vehicles should first make advance arrangements for parking their vehicles.

Give enough rest to traffic cops

The high court has directed the state government to ensure that the traffic police personnel are given sufficient breaks while discharging their duties in summers by rotating their duty period. The HC also ordered that such personnel be provided masks to protect them from injurious gases and fumes while discharging traffic duties.

Reforms, need of the hour

On outsourcing of police and traffic functions, the HC in its order on police reforms, while citing various reports, said outsourcing of police functions can be achieved by using three alternative methods — civilianisation, privatization, and public-private partnership.

“Outsourcing as a means of economizing on sworn manpower, has been adopted by many police organizations in different parts of the world. Police functions chosen for outsourcing vary from jurisdiction to jurisdictions and include guarding of public premises and buildings, court security, prisoner custody, video surveillance, traffic and parking control, radio dispatching, maintenance of computer and communications equipment, training, etc,” the court said.

First Published: Jul 08, 2018 21:42 IST