Over 5,000 killed in 20,000 Himachal accidents in eight years

November 6th, 2008 - 10:38 am ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Nov 6 (IANS) Over 5,000 people have died in nearly 20,000 accidents during the past eight years on the mountain roads of Himachal Pradesh, police records show.According to the police records, 379 people lost their lives in 1,314 road accidents across the state this year till June. As many as 2,095 people were injured.

Last year 927 people lost their lives in 2,852 accidents. The year 2007 recorded the highest death toll and highest number of accidents since the year 2001.

The records reveal that during the past eight years, 5,105 people have lost their lives in nearly 20,000 accidents.

Police officials blamed buses, driven recklessly by untrained men at the wheels and largely belonging to private operators, for most of the fatal accidents.

In Tuesday’s accident in Shimla district in which 46 passengers were killed, the bus of a private operator was involved.

Police officials said there were 186 bus accidents in 2004 in which 179 people were killed. Of these, 152 accidents pertained to private buses while Himachal Road Transportation Corporation’s buses were involved in 34 accidents.

In 2006, private buses accounted for 131 out of the total 158 accidents in which 146 people were killed.

“The drivers engaged by private transporters often lack proper driving skills. In most of the cases, the drivers are hired at a low salary from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh who are not trained to drive in tough (hilly) road conditions.

“Of course, competition among bus drivers to pick up more and more passengers leads to overspeeding and negligent driving,” said a senior official of the transport department, requesting anonymity.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (Traffic) J.R. Thakur told IANS: “The department has identified 556 accident-prone spots, including 210 on national highways, in the state. We are taking measures along with the public works department to minimise the accidents.”

Transport Minister Kishan Kapoor said checking of private buses plying on various routes would be intensified.

“The transport department has decided to impart training to every driver of the private bus service,” he added.

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