JHARSUGUDA: For Odisha’s Jharsuguda district, the epidemic of road traffic accidents was more fatal than the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. As many as 93 lives were lost in road mishaps in the industrial district as compared to 47 deaths due to Covid-19 last year. This despite people staying indoors due to the coronavirus lockdown.
While the lockdown cut down road accidents across the country with the volume of traffic being very low due to the restrictions on outdoor movement, it was opposite in Jharsuguda. The reason: Bad roads in the industrial belt which witnesses a massive movement of heavy vehicles round the clock.
Sources in Jharsuguda police said 348 persons died in road accidents in last three years in the district. Of this, 129 fatalities were reported in 2018, 126 in 2019 and 93 in 2020. Majority of the fatal mishaps took place on National Highway -49 and Biju Expressway.
Nodal Inspector of District Road Safety Cell Biswapati Panda said vulnerable accident spots have been identified on Biju Expressway from Kherual Bridge to Sundargarh border and Pokhrasale to Kanaktura on NH-49. Panda further said four black spots have been identified in the district. These are Biju Patnaik Chowk at Badmal, Prasanna Panda Chowk at BTM locality, the stretch from No 9 Dhaba to Shani Mandir in Gandhi Chowk area and Kureimal Chowk within Rengali police limits.
While necessary measures have been put in place to ensure zero accidents at these vulnerable accident-prone spots both by police and transport authorities, eight deaths due to road mishaps are reported every month. The Inspector informed that meetings of the Road Safety Cell are being held with police, RTO, Roads and NHAI officials every month to analyse the reason behind each accident.
In some cases, Works or NHAI authorities give poor road condition as the main cause of accidents and propose for its repair on war footing basis. The priority is now on enforcement and engineering. Police are conducting regular checking and penalising traffic violators. Similarly, faults on roads are being rectified.
The administration is also conducting awareness programmes on road safety at various places including in schools and factories. Due to these measures, the number of road accidents are coming down in the district, Panda added.