BY MOHD MAJID MALIK , DODA,MAY07—-National Highway Batote Doda and Bhaderwah road have become killer roads and not the roads which should give the pleasure of a scenic view of the landscape. There is hardly a week or a fortnight when fatal road accidents on these two routes do not bring to a sudden and tragic end the lives of commuters oblivious of the fate they are about to meet. Just a day back, two road accidents took place along these highways in which three persons including one kids aged 5 and 3 got killed and 8 wounded, 4 of them critically.Recurring road accidents, mostly along the Batote – Doda and Bhaderwah Doda road have become a regular phenomenon due to the malpractices done by the traffic cops .
Despite inviting the attention of traffic authorities to the avoidable tragedies, the traffic controlling structure not performed its duty with strong motivation as they are involved in Hafta system on theses roads, according to reliable sources . Why do the traffic police allow overloading for private buses and minibuses when they know that driving along the most tortuous and dangerous hilly road is fraught with gravest threat to the life of the passengers? Enquiries made by the traffic department into the accidents are seldom made public. Whatever is said is meant to give the impression that all onus comes to the doorsteps of the driver of the bus or the vehicle,said Masood Ahmed Sheikh .
The fact is that people generally believe that traffic police on Doda Bhaderwah road is the most corrupt and most inefficient . We hardly hear that any concerned officer of this department has been punished under rules for negligence of duty on Bhaderwah Doda road even if circumstances show that a particular road accident had happened owing to the negligence of the officers and traffic police personnel. Unless there is exemplary punishment for dereliction of duty in a vital state department, no improvement in road accidents should be expected, said Koshal Kotwal a local leader .
The department of traffic is over staffed but under-efficient in erstwhile Doda district . Inefficiency is its hallmark in Doda and Bhaderwah . Traffic police are reported to have their hafta with the drivers or the bus owners both on long routes and within the towns . Officers pay hefty bribes to seniors for choice postings and there are some who have raised considerable properties not commensurate with their income per se sources informed . Consider the chaotic condition of traffic in the Bhaderwah and other towns ; it is horrible and unbelievable as well. No traffic rule works for the transport and no traffic policeman cares for rendering his duty efficiently. It is free for all. One can drive any direction at any speed and with any destination in sight. One can park the vehicle anywhere one likes.
Vehicles are usually parked on one side of the congested narrow street thus further choking the movement of vehicles. According to reliable sources in Doda district good number of drivers carry fake driving licenses and have never attended a driving school to receive proper training. Vehicles are seldom put under strict scrutiny for mechanical check up. Obscene pictures of nudities are pasted inside the mini buses on Doda Bhaderwah roads under the nose of the concerned DTIs of the area and most obscene songs and dialogues are relayed at the highest volume in the running buses despite repeated expression of aversion by the passengers. Mini buses plying in the towns stop anywhere if a prospective passenger indicates for a ride. The culture of stopping at the fixed bus stop to drop or pick up new passengers is a distant cry. Not a single three-wheeler ever uses meter to reckon the fare.
The passengers are left to be fleeced by the auto-rickshaw drivers just because most of them run illegally on the roads of the city and never keep the meters functional. Look at the chaotic traffic situation at major crossings in towns and not to speak about the general bus stands of Doda ,Bhaderwah and Kishtwar .There can be no improvement in controlling all sensitive aspects of vehicular transport in the Doda district whether it is plying on the Batote Doda road or within the towns , and suburban areas unless rules and regulations are strictly enforced. Traffic Police has notoriously become money-minting department for the blue eyed traffic policemen and officers on Doda Bhaderwah road under the nose of the senior officials of the department .
Not onlty this some times traffic cops included sub inspectors misbehaved with women and childrens for the want of Hafta , added Abdul Kabir Malik . Unless there is widespread purge in the department and corrupt and inefficient staff is thrown out which are in Bhalla ,Sari and Bhaderwah , no improvement in controlling road accidents will be possible. Hand out exemplary punishment to such of the staffers in the department as are identified for gross dereliction of duty or perpetration of corruption and bribery, but nothing less than dismissal, and you will see drastic change in the entire traffic system. This department has become intolerably chaotic and abysmally dysfunctional,said Iqbal Tak a socail worker .