Pradeep Pattanayak

Deaths and injuries due to road accidents continued to be a major cause of worry in Odisha with the State reporting more casualties than the national average.   

In Odisha, the fatality rate (death per 100 accidents) is 48 compared to the national average of 36, according to the data shared by the State Transport Department. 

Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera at the State level Road Safety Council meeting informed that Odisha registered 4,738 road mishap deaths in 2020. The same year, around 5,000 suffered injuries. 

However, the death rate declined in 2020 if compared to the figure of 2019 and this was due to the lockdowns and shutdowns triggered by the pandemic. The year 2020 registered an 11 percent decline. 
The cases of people losing their lives are being reported more in districts like Jajpur, Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh, Keonjhar, Angul, Dhenkanal, Balasore, Ganjam, Cuttack and Khurda.   

“The bike riders account for 53 percent of the entire deaths. About 80 percent of the deaths were caused by not wearing helmets,” informed the Minister. 

In terms of road accidents, Odisha is placed at 12th position in the country. 

The dubious distinction achieved by the State speaks volume of deplorable condition of its roads and how they are responsible for road mishaps. 
As per the State government, road accidents claimed a total of 5,315 lives in 2018. In 2019, the number of people killed in road accidents increased to 5,333. As many as 4,738 people lost their lives to road mishaps in 2020. In State’s capital alone, 149 people lost their lives to road accidents this year. In 2020, the capital city had reported 51 accidents, claiming 12 lives.  

As per the statistics shared by the NCRB and the State government, every day 27 accidents are occurring in Odisha, killing an average of 13 commuters. 

“As many as 532 accident related cases were registered by November 30 in Bhubaneswar police district. 149 people lost their lives," informed DCP Umashankar Das. 

A tragic road mishap on NH-55 on Thursday, killing a bike rider, spoke volume of the bad road condition. 
Two youths riding a bike were heading from Manguli square in Cuttack towards Choudwar. It was around 11:00 am. It was when they were trying to overtake a truck while negotiating a pothole, the wheel of the bike got slipped, resulting in both the riders being crushed under the wheels of the truck. 

One died on the spot and another, struggling for life at hospital bed. 

The local residents blamed the tardy pace of the NH’s expansion work for the accident. 
“Today’s accident is due to the NH’s bad condition. Accidents claiming precious lives are occurring on the route frequently,” observed Keshab Barik, a Choudwar resident. 

Worth mentioning, protesting the deplorable condition of NH-55, the Private Bus Owners’ Association on Thursday put the buses off the road on Thursday from 6:00 am to 12 midnight.