Pradeep Pattanayak

As many as 17 people lost their lives in separate road accidents on Friday when the state was observing the first day of the zero fatality week. 

Eight people were killed when a van they were travelling in collided against a stationary truck near Balijodi under the Ghatagaon Police limits of Keonjhar district. 

Similarly, three people died in three separate road mishaps at Gelpur in Bhadrak, Chinimahula in Sambalpur, and Anandapur in Keonjhar. 

Later in the evening, 6 more people lost their lives in separate road mishaps across the State.

Also Read: Six, including three children, injured in road mishap in Odisha’s Keonjhar

To find out the reason behind a spurt in accidents, OTV team visited some spots, notorious for accidents. It first visited Hantalaguda Ghat road in Swabhiman Anchal. Besides being a narrow road, it has many hairpin bends. But the stretch is devoid of any guard wall. There is also not a single signboard to inform a driver about the road condition. 

“Accidents are occurring on Hantalaguda ghat road time and again. It doesn’t have any guard wall or any signboards to inform drivers about the condition of the road,” said Balaram Padhiari, a Chitrakonda resident.

The Soro-Balasore National Highway-16 has been notorious for frequent accidents. The road construction work which was scheduled to end in three years is still going on even after five years. Even though 15 black spots have been identified on this road, there are no speed breakers and blinking lights at such spots. 

“The road is a death trap. We risk our lives when travelling on this road,” rued a driver. 

When asked, Balasore district Collector, Dattatraya Bhausaheb said, “Because the NH work is unfinished, accidents are frequent on this road. However, they have said they would fill up the potholes within eight days and complete bridge construction works within six months.”

As per the information shared by the State Transport Department, 48,000 people lost their lives during the last ten years, at a rate of about 13 deaths per day.

“The government is not taking the measures that should be taken to check accidents. Similarly, monitoring is also not done. To check accidents, awareness should be created among people and the programme shouldn’t be limited to a week only. Rather it should continue round the year,” observed road safety expert, Subrat Nanda.

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