Uttarakhand HC orders eye check-up of all drivers within 15 days

HC also summoned senior officials of the transport department to explain why its earlier directions regarding improving traffic management and checking road accidents in the state were not complied with in letter and spirit
48 people died in Pauri bus mishap on Sunday.(HT Photo)
48 people died in Pauri bus mishap on Sunday.(HT Photo)
Updated on Jul 04, 2018 10:48 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Nainital | By

The Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday summoned senior officials of the transport department, including the secretary and the commissioner, to personally appear and explain why its earlier directions regarding improving traffic management and checking road accidents in the state were not complied with in letter and spirit.

The bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma directed the officials to remain present in court on July 6.

The court also directed the authorities concerned to get the eyesight of all the drivers of the Uttarakhand State Transport Corporation and private transporters checked within 15 days. It directed the chief medical officers of all districts to depute special staff during nights to check the tendency of consumption of alcohol by drivers and maintain a proper record.

The court ruled that disciplinary proceedings be immediately commenced, if any driver is found under the influence of alcohol.

In his order, Justice Sharma said that on September 7, 2017, the HC had passed four directions. First, the HC had directed all the regional transport officers, assistant regional transport officers (enforcement) as well as the regional transport authorities, throughout Uttarakhand, to ensure due compliance of the provisions of Sections 66, 86 and 88 of the Motor Vehicles Act by conducting the surprise checks on vehicles plying in the state.

Second, the HC had ruled that it shall be the duty of the state government to ensure that no buses of adjoining states are plied without any reciprocal arrangement entered into between Uttarakhand and the adjoining states.

Third, it had directed the state government to ensure that all vehicles registered in the state ply strictly in conformity with the law and the rules framed under the Motor Vehicles Act.

Fourth, it had directed all the senior superintendents of police/superintendents of police to check overloading in the public conveyance as well as in transport vehicles including school vans.

Referring to the bus accident in Pauri in which 48 people were killed, the court said, “In case, the directions issued by this court, more particularly, direction number three had been complied with in letter and spirit, the loss of precious human lives could have been avoided. The authorities are mute spectators to the overloading in government and private vehicles. The overloaded buses plied by the corporation or by the private owners are visible on road but even then, they are not challaned.”

HC noted that owners of the private buses and the officers of the transport corporation should be aware of the geographical conditions of Uttarakhand. “The roads are narrow and there are no barricades/parapet on the road. The pothole is one of the main reasons of the accidents,” the order said.

Other directions

HC directed all the officers of the transport department and Uttarakhand Road Transport Corporation to ensure round-the clock checking of every transport vehicle plying in the state to arrest the menace of overloading.

It ruled that officers concerned shall also ensure that transport vehicles do not ply in neutral.

All the buses run by Uttarakhand state transport corporation and private transporters shall only be stopped at the authorized eateries.

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    He is principal correspondent based at Bhopal. He covers environment and wildlife, state administration, BJP and other saffron organisations. He has special interest in social issues based stories.

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