20 deaths from Kishtwar accidents, road safety concerns



SRINAGAR: Twenty people, including a minor, were killed in two major accidents in the Kishtwar district of Jammu in the last 24 hours after three vehicles slipped through a gap along the highway.

In the last accident, a vehicle with pilgrims dribbled to a temple, fell off the road and fell into the Chenab River in Jammu and the Kishtwar district of Kashmir. The accident occurred when they went to the Mata Machail temple in the district.

The accident occurred less than a day later after seven pilgrims, including two women who were killed and 12 people injured on the Doda-Batote-Kishtwar highway near the village of Kuligad, when a landslide hit a moving vehicle.

J & K governor N N Vohra expressed grief about the loss of lives and meets Saturday to discuss the causes of recurring fatal accidents. Vohra also directed divisional commissioners from Kashmir and Jammu to ensure that the substitute commissioners hold direct meetings of the district committees for road safety.

Former J & K chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah also expressed great concern about the increasing number of traffic accidents and urged the government to take appropriate measures to keep travelers informed of weather conditions and the status of landslides.

"Road safety measures should be regularly reviewed and checked, especially during the ongoing monsoon season," Abdullah said.

The rescue team of police, army and local volunteers has picked up in the morning 12 and a pilgrim, a five-year-old girl, succumbed to injuries, later in the hospital. The rescue operation continued until later in the afternoon. J & K police chief S P Vaid confirmed the death of 12 people.

According to the Ministry of Road, Transport and Motorways, J & K ranks second in India in the number of road accidents per 10,000 vehicles with on average more than 900 deaths per year over the past five years.

The number of deaths per year in the state has been more than 900 in the last 5 years. In 2017, 926 people died in more than 5,000 road accidents in the state. In 2016 J & K witnessed 958 deaths in traffic accidents, while 917 people died in 2015 and 992 died in 2014 and 990 in 2013.


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