The terrorist activities in India, including the Naxal attacks have claimed 803 lives, including that of terrorists, security personnel and civilians, in 2017. On the contrary the potholes have taken almost 10 lives daily, a death toll of 3,597 have been registered in 2017 alone. The number of fatalities have a rise of 50% from 2016, reported The Times of India.
Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra continued to be worst performers in the country for twice in a row. In 2016, Uttar Pradesh recorded a death toll of 714, which rose upto 987 in 2017. Maharashtra ranked second in the list of shame with 726 fatalities in 2017, compared to 329 in 2016. Haryana and Gujarat, follow, with 522 and 228 fatalities.
The ‘pothole deaths’ have stirred a debate on inefficiency of and corruption in municipal and road-owning authorities with the government launching campaigns to improve public awareness. But the craters remain a major hazard, with lack of road discipline and many two-wheeler riders not using helmets aggravating the risks.
The number of people killed near or on roads under construction also increased from 3,878 in 2016 to 4,250 last year.
Commenting on the situation, road safety expert Rohit Baluja said negligent officials should be booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder under IPC.
Union road ministry officials say the provision of fine against officials has been made in the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, considering high number of deaths due to faulty design of roads, poor maintenance and negligence in fixing problems. But the bill is stuck in Parliament due to frequent disruptions in proceedings.
K K Kapila, chairman of the International Road Federation said the proposed amendments in the law will pave the way for safer roads. “We have been urging the MPs to pass the bill rising above their party lines,” he said.