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The Rape In Delhi And The Neglect Of Public Transport

The horrible gang rape and assault on a girl medical student in New Delhi on the night of December 16 has led to calls for hanging and castration of the criminals. But the incident needs to be seen more critically in the wider social context of the neglect of public transport and people’s basic needs of mobility. Unlike other rapes this has taken place in a public transport vehicle, though it is privately owned. The authorities are as responsible as the culprits. There is some awareness in the government about the problems of public transport but this is mainly among a few bureaucrats in Delhi and the main problem is that there is a complete lack of political will to promote public transport and curb private vehicles as recommended by the National Urban Transport Policy of 2006. This is my view after a study of several years and participation in the annual international urban mobility conferences in Delhi in the last three years organized by the union urban development department and the Institute of Urban Transport . The latest conference was held in Delhi earlier this month in the very exclusive confines of the posh Maneskshaw Centre of the Indian Army at Dhaula Kuan and there were many progressive voices raised there which considerably impressed Peter Newman, the author of the book Overcoming Automobile Dependence. He told me so. But in reality moving about in Delhi, the capital itself, is extremely hazardous and public bus transport is not easy to access. I soon found this out for myself, though I had experienced this earlier.. There is a wide divergence between how politicians and the corporate elite want to configure our cities and the actual state of affairs. On the last day of the conference there was a discussion on Smart Cities and information technology solutions in which representatives of Siemens, Infosys and IBM made presentations. Smart cities yes, but how about providing basic services to people, upholding their right to life and ensuring that people travel with dignity and comfort or that they are not killed in public transport ? The actual state of affairs is deadly, literally. First, to cross the road on foot to reach Manekshaw Centre is like confronting death. There is relentless vehicular traffic, mainly private cars, on the Delhi Gurgaon highway and there is no traffic signal here. Then I remembered what a United Nations official Kulwant Singh had told me some time earlier that it takes him almost half an hour to cross the road in Gurgaon.So while private cars are pampered, pedestrians and public transport are brazenly discriminated against, humiliated, in fact. And the nearest bus shelter for Manekshaw Centre is no less than 1.5 km which is at Dhaula Kuan. One can imagine the plight of several workers who work in the Centre and in surrounding areas. This makes nonsense of all the talk of seamless transport, smart , high tech transport that one constantly hears from authorities. And the walk on this stretch is quite hazardous as well, especially in front of the high tech military hospital in the area where one can never get access in case you are knocked down by a car. The only possible reason why there is no bus stop anywhere close to the Centre is obviously that they do not want to hinder car traffic which always is given priority and that is really the undoing of the public transport system. One day I took a bus for conference delegates and even this was not allowed to stop at the Delhi Transport Corporation bus stop which is 1.5 km. away . So our bus took a long detour, went past a fly over over a long distance and we were offloaded on the other side of the road. We had to make a steep climb up a bridge and even here were stopped as some VIP vehicle was passing by and we commoners were seen as a threat to the VIP. After finally managing to get a DTC bus, I found that it broke down on the way and there was another long walk to another bus stop. Anyway, it is always good to walk and take public transport as it is the only way one can understand the plight of common people which one can never imagine from the luxury of an air conditioned car. As for the rape, another sad part is that it took place in a public bus and this can undermine women’s faith in public transport. As it is women are subjected to other forms of sexual harassment in public transport. If the government is serious about its stated public objective of promoting public transport, it must take steps to make public transport safe and reliable. Delhi city’s planning also needs reorientation. As the Unified Transport and traffic Infrastructue and Planning and Engineering Centre UTTIPEC) in Delhi has pointed out there are vast stretches of roads in Delhi which have a cluster of private fortresses with high walls. These make life on the outside unsafe. A majority of people are treated as unwanted in our system. Jane Jacobs, the most influential author on urban issues, is famous for her stress on people-friendly streets, localities with mixed neighbourhoods, all streets should have shops and this helps prevent crime to a substantial extent in urban areas because people constantly go to shops and the shop-keeper looks out on the street. Eyes on the street. That is her famous coinage. Unfortunately, she is ignored even by our architects and planners. Of course many bureaucrats and politicians are not even likely to have heard of her. Her book Death and Life of Great American Cities written in 1961 is the best guide for a people friendly street environment. At the recent urban mobility conference, Mr Dinesh Mohan, the transport expert from IIt Delhi, did well to stress the importance of shops and hawkers on streets as a way to prevent crime. Facilities for hawkers should be integrated into urban design, he said, though he did not mention Jane Jacobs. In Asian countries street crime is low because of shops on the ground floor, he said. Mr Dinesh Mohan also lashed out at the neglect of non-motorised transport and the emphasis on high tech, expensive transport projects. Interestingly, the urban development minister, Mr Kamal Nath, concentrated on speaking on high tech, expensive Metro rail projects and he had nothing to say about pedestrians and non-motorised vehicles even though these form a bulk of the urban transport scene. Of course, safety of commuters seldom seems to bother authorities and they seldom talk about it unless there is a hue and cry over a case like the recent rape and assault. Mr Jaipal Reddy, the then urban development minister, had shown much more realism when he spoke two years ago at the mobility conference in Delhi. He sincerely demanded a better deal for public transport and pedestrians and lamented the lack of political will. And that is where the rub lies. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi recently went by a special bus for a Congress conclave on the outskirts of Delhi. Mercifully they avoided the use of luxury cars. They apparently wanted to make a gesture, though it seems so empty. But they clearly need to understand much more about the fate of public transport users. They should realize that public transport is crucial in the context of climate change, improving our carbon footprint, reducing emissions and meeting the growing challenge of congested cities. These are all international issues. Let the leaders at least heed international opinion, if not the cry of common people who are victims of a brutal transport system. It is often said in respect of Mumbai’s overcrowded trains that politicians must be forced to travel in them to understand the gravity of the problem. Now, people should insist that politicians in Delhi should travel by DTC and other buses. These guys talk of globalization all the time. Why don’t they travel by public transport as leaders in other countries, especially in Europe, do ? Vidyadhar Date is a senior journalist and author of the book Traffic in the Era of Climate Change. Walking, Cycling, Public Transport need Priority

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Road accident emerge as main killer disease for youngsters in Indore

INDORE: Ever increasing number of vehicles, poor traffic management and lack of traffic sense among Indoreans are claiming more and more young life-mainly college students—in avoidable road accidents in Indore. Road accidents in city are claiming two lives in a day and around 58 in a month. Till now 690 people have died in road accidents, out of which nearly 500 are students under 25 years of age, and still 15 days still remain in this calendar year.

Road accidents have emerged as one of the major causes of death of youngsters in the city; no other disease claims so many young lives than road accidents. According to the statistics compiled by Save Life Cycle, an NGO, till now this year 431 college youngsters have died in road accidents and 71 school students (up to class X) have lost their lives in road accidents.
Praful Joshi of Save Life Cycle said two-wheeler riders have become biggest casualty of road accidents, till now 493 two-wheeler riders (mainly college students) have died. Highlighting the lack of traffic sense among students, Joshi said overtaking has been listed as a major cause of accidents in 90 per cent cases of road accident deaths. Not only this 80 per cent of people died in road accidents were not carrying licenses and 75 per cent of two-wheeler riders died in road accidents were not carrying licenses.

Based on the rate at which accidents are taking place in the city, by the end of the calendar year Indore may end up as the city with highest number of road accident deaths in the country.

“Right now we are neck to neck with two other cities in deaths due to road accident-Nasik (689) and Pune (679). Allahabad is next with 643 deaths. Till last year Indore was number three in deaths due to road accidents,” Joshi said.

He said death in road accidents by buses of schools and colleges are significant, till now 114 deaths because of school and college buses have been recorded this year. “Despite this institutions are not taking initiatives for road safety. There are no strict guidelines for drivers of these buses,” Joshi pointed.

This year a different trend of accidents has emerged and bypass and ring roads have become death zones. “With the rapid expansion of city and mushrooming schools and college on outskirts lakhs of people are now using bypass and ring road to reach their work places and institutions. It has exposed them to flow of heavy vehicles which are proving to be fatal. Till now 512 people have died in road accidents due to heavy vehicles including buses and trucks,” Joshi said.

In city BRTS has emerged as killer road with 32 deaths till now, out of which 27 are college students. “Most of the accidents causing deaths on BRTS have occurred due to overspeeding,” Joshi said.

He said menace of road accidents can be dealt only with proper traffic education and strict implementation of traffic norms. “Mainly it is the youngsters who are dying in road accidents. So it is important for the schools and college to have compulsory traffic education programme as mentioned in CBSE guidelines,” Joshi said adding that youngsters who are dying in road accidents are educated, so it is not just a loss to the family but to the country as nation is losing skilled human resources.

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Texting while driving more dangerous

MUSCAT — An incomplete SMS or a half-way ended conversation, are very often the unfortunate remnants found in the crushed mobile phones at accident sites that the Royal Oman Police (ROP) investigates frequently, according to a key official at the operations department of the ROP.
Speaking to the Observer, the official said texting while driving is 200 times fatal than speaking on the phone. “Typing SMS or reading the received one is more dangerous than speaking on the phone while you are behind the wheels. Texting is also often 200 times dangerous than speaking on the phone but both are equally punishable,” the official said.
He said the simple reason why texting is more deadly than talking is because texting while driving leads to increased distraction behind the wheels and with the modern smart phones, the fatal accidents are closer to the driver.
“The risk of crashing while texting increases by 23 times, because reading or sending a text diverts the driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds which can be compared with the act of driving the length of a football field, blind, at 120 km per hour,” he added.
Globally, texting while driving in some places has been outlawed or restricted.
The Governors Highway Safety Association says it has been banned in 39 states in the US and in the District of Columbia. Texas does not have a statewide ban on texting while driving. However texting while driving is banned in some municipalities and school zones in the state.
A simulation study at the Monash University Accident Research Centre gives strong evidence that retrieving and, in particular, sending text messages has a detrimental effect on a number of safety-critical driving measures.
Specifically, negative effects were seen in detecting and responding correctly to road signs, detecting hazards, time spent with eyes off the road, and (only for sending text messages) lateral position.
Mean speed, speed variability, lateral position when receiving text messages, and following distance showed no difference.
Another simulation study at the University of Utah has found a six-fold increase in distraction-related accidents when texting.
“These are facts and figures from across the world and we need to take responsibility of our actions on the road. A continuous education programme, traffic lessons in the schools, awareness campaigns can help in this regard with the help of media”.

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Road accident victim gets 37 lakh in damages

NEW DELHI: A Motor Accident Claims Tribunal has awarded a compensation of Rs 36.98 lakh to a 40-year-old man, who suffered 90% permanent disability in a road mishap involving a rashly-driven car.

The tribunal directed ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Limited, with which the offending vehicle was insured, to pay Rs 36,98,911 to city resident Manjeet Singh.
As per the FIR and chargesheet, the driver was drunk while driving the vehicle. The documents of criminal case which have been placed on record are prima facie evidence of the fact that Singh suffered injuries on account of rash and negligent driving of the offending vehicle by the driver, MACT presiding officer Harish Dudani said.

Singh told the tribunal that the accident had taken place on the night of July 1, 2009 when a Santro car had hit him as he was crossing a road near Dhaula Kuan. He added that due to the impact he sustained grievous injuries and had to be rushed to a nearby hospital.

He said he was rendered paralysed from below the waist, has lost control of his bowel movements and is incapable of working.

Singh also told the tribunal that he was working as a senior programmer with a company here and was earning a salary of Rs 15,570 per month. The driver and owner of the car, Shaleen Bhatnagar and Mani Padma respectively, contented before the tribunal that the accident had taken place as Singh was negligent and careless towards traffic rules.

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Wayward halting of buses creates chaoson roads

PUNE: One of the many reasons for road traffic problems in the city is that the PMPML bus drivers do not halt the vehicles close to the bus stops. This blocks the carriageway and halts vehicular traffic. Citizens and bus commuters’ groups have highlighted the need for building proper bus bays, or painting yellow boxes for buses to halt.

Pedestrians First, an NGO working on pedestrian and road safety issues, has urged both the Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporations to provide bus bays for smooth movement of traffic.
Prashant Inamdar, convenor of Pedestrians First, said a major problem faced by bus drivers and bus commuters is that buses are unable to approach the bus stop and are forced to halt on the carriageway. Road side clutter, encroachments, and vehicles parking right up to the bus stop create severe for all road users. Commuters have to stand on the road to be able to see approaching bus, and have to board the bus in the midst of traffic with great inconvenience and also facing a risk to life. Many a times, bus drivers skip the bus stop, he said.

Inamdar, who was instrumental in helping the PMC and the traffic authorities in creating a bus bay at the bus stop near Ranade Institute on Fergusson College Road, said the experiment was successful only for a few months. This was because temporary barricades had been used at the bus bay. “Putting traffic barricades for the purpose cannot be sustained for a longer period. The bus bay is not effectively operational anymore and the gains made have now been lost,” he said.

The municipal corporations should make it a policy to provide properly designed bus bays which should have road markings with arrows and sign boards. Provision should also be made for sturdy bollards with crossbars or metal railings of suitable design before and after bus stop, up to 20 metres on entry side and 15 metres on exit side, to prevent vehicle parking. Major bus stops should be covered in the fist phase, Inamdar added.

PMP Pravasi Sangh members Jugal Rathi and Vivek Velankar said the work of creating bus bays has been pending for many years. “Creation of bus bays is the most effective solution for the safety of bus commuters with minimum cost, efforts and time. It will also be convenient for bus drivers, and for the police to take action against encroachments or obstructions. It will ensure better traffic discipline and safety,” Rathi said.

Civic authorities said they will act on the suggestions given by the organizations and the traffic police.

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Telugu actor Bharath dies in a Road Accident

Telugu actor Bharath alias Yasho Sagar, whose debut film Ullasanga Utsahanga was a blockbuster, died in a road accident near Tumkur in Karnataka in the wee hours today.

Besides Sagar, in his mid 20s, his assistant Vishvanath Reddy was also killed and another person injured when their car rammed into a bridge near Tumkur, about 100 km from here, District SP T R Suresh told PTI.

The condition of the injured, admitted to a Tumkur hospital, was critical, he said.

Sagar was on his way to Bangalore from Pune when the accident took place around 6.30 am, Suresh said. Reddy was driving the car.

A native of Bangalore, Sagar made his debut in Telugu film Ullasanga Utsahanga which was a major hit in 2008. Sagar’s father B P Somu is a producer in Kannada films.

The young star had also acted in Kannada flick Mr Premikudu which was produced by his father.

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Dr. Jitendra castigates govt for frequent road accidents

Jammu, December 19 (Scoop News) –Taking serious note of recurring incidents of road accidents causing heavy causality and taking toll of precious lives, BJP State Chief Spokesperson & National Executive Member Dr. Jitendra Singh has castigated the National Conference led coalition government for its wrong priorities and cosmetic measures of development instead of focusing on fundamental issues of human concern.

Dr. Jitendra Singh said it is most shameful to observe that during the last six months, more number of people have died because of road accidents as compared to militancy related incidents. He said instead of fruitlessly harping on the issue of withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and demoralizing the security forces, the Chief Minister and his government should better concentrate on preventing road accident related causalities which are very much within the government purview and control.

Dr. Jitendra Singh said failure to check overloading and over speeding of public transport vehicles in connivance with traffic police and government functionaries is the major cause of these incidents. Upon this, improper maintenance of roads and frequent digging with fatal holes has led to chaos even in city premises. Meanwhile, high state functionaries, including ministers and senior bureaucrats remain unaffected because of the safe motorcades regulated by accompanying security personnel, he added.

The traffic police has been reduced only to a token presence for regulating VIP traffic alleged Dr. Jitendra Singh adding that on one hand people are dying daily on the hill roads, on the other hand there are also chaos on city roads due to unauthorized parking risking lives of commoners, particularly elder citizens and children.

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Six killed in road accident in Jharkhand

Hazaribagh, Jharkhand: Six persons were on Wednesday killed when their vehicle rammed into a stationary truck on the National Highway 2 near Chauparan in Hazaribagh district, about 80 kilometres from Hazaribagh in Jharkhand.

An employee of the Central Coalfields Limited, who was going to Burkunda in adjoining Ramgarh district from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh with his family members and their driver were killed in the accident that could have been caused by fog, Sub-divisional Police Officer of Barhi, B K Sinha said.

He said that the bodies were badly mutilated in the accident and could be extricated only after cutting open the wreckage, Sinha said.

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Person flees scene after two-car accident on Springdale Rd

According to authorities, a black car was pulling out of a strip mall on Springdale Road. Another vehicle, which appeared to be a blue Honda Civic, was reportedly speeding down the road, and hit the black car from behind.

Following the collision, the vehicles ended up about a quarter mile apart.

Police on scene said the Honda Civic had two males in it, with one taken to the hospital and the other person fleeing from the scene on foot. A helicopter was brought in to locate the missing person.

A woman in the black car was also taken to a nearby hospital.

An employee of nearby Angilo’s Pizza said a ‘demolished car’ was sitting in front of the shopping center on Springdale Rd, and another was located near Marino Drive and Springdale.

No word on the condition of the injuries.

Springdale Road was closed for sometime on Tuesday evening.

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3 killed, 7 injured in road accident in Ahmedabad

Two labourers and a passenger were killed after a mini-truck rammed into a stationary truck stationed near a tea stall in Viramgam, on Tuesday. Both labourers were standing on the rear side of the truck when it was hit.

At 7:30am, while the labourers were having tea near Panchmukhi temple on Popat crossroads, the mini truck came zooming in from the opposite direction and collided with the stationed truck. The impact of the collision was so sever that the mini truck was almost unidentifiable.

The labourers who were crushed under the wheels of the mini truck were identified as Rasool Meda, 23, a resident of Dahod and Mukesh Das, 23, a resident of Bihar. They used to work at a construction site opposite the temple. Ajit Dave, 25, a resident of Viramgam, who was seated next to the driver in the mini truck also died in the accident.

Seven others including Jayanti Vaghela, the driver of the mini truck were also injured. PB Rana, PSI, Viramgam town police, said, “We have registered a case of accidental death against the driver of the mini truck. The injured have been admitted to Bhagyoday hospital in Viramgam.”

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JK Governor,CM,Minister expresses grief over road accidents in Mahore

Jammu, December 18 (Scoop News) – JK Governor, NN Vohra,CM,Omar Abdulla and Minister for Higher Education, Labour and Employment, Abdul Gani Malik expressed grief over road accidents in Mahore in which ten persons died and six others injured near Mahore in Reasi district.

N. N. Vohra, Governor, has expressed grief over the death of ten persons in a tragic road accident near Mahore, in Reasi district, today.
In a message, the Governor conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved families and prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls. He also prayed for the speedy recovery of all those injured in this accident.

Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah has expressed deep grief over the loss of lives in road accident near Mahore in Reasi district.
In his condolence message, the Chief Minister conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved families and prayed for peace to the departed souls. He also prayed for early recovery of the injured.
The Chief Minister directed the Divisional Administration and Health Department to provide all required medical treatment to the injured.
Expressing concern over the frequent road accidents taking place in Chenab Valley region, Omar Abdullah directed the Transport and Traffic Departments and District Administrations to review the scenario jointly and work out strategy to curb these accidents and help save human lives.

Meanwhile JK Minister for Higher Education, Labour and Employment, Abdul Gani Malik has expressed deep shock and grief over the tragic accident of a Tempo Traveller near Mahore, Reasi today morning, in which several precious lives were lost and equal number injured.
Expressing sympathy with the bereaved families, Malik prayed for the eternal peace of the departed souls and speedy recovery of injured.
The Minister issued instructions to the local authorities to shift injured to hospitals and extend all possible Medicare to them.

According to Police ten persons were killed when their vehicle rolled down into a deep gorge in Reasi district.

Police said that the vehicle was on its way to Jammu from Mahore when it skidded off the road and rolled down into a deep gorge .

The injured persons have been admitted to GMC Hospital in Jammu for treatment.

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Two killed in road accident in Noida

Two dead and two injured as a Scorpio collides with a container truck in Noida’s Sector 63. For more info log on to: www.youtube.com/abpnewsTV

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4 dead in 2 Emirates Road accidents; Parked car gets hit killing 3 inside

Four people died and four others were severely injured in two separate traffic accidents in Dubai yesterday.

Three people died and two injured in a serious accident on the Emirates Road on Monday afternoon, Dubai Police said.

Police officials said a saloon car was parked on the roadside on Emirates Road after it broke down and all the five people were sitting inside the vehicle waiting for the roadside assistance. Then a four-wheel car, driven by a Sudanese, hit the parked car while driving by at a high speed, killing three people and seriously injuring two, police said.
A second major accident took place only four hours later, taking the life of one Emirati driver, the Dubai Traffic Police told this website.

At 7.10pm three vehicles clashed on Dubai Bypass Road (north), likely due to the appearance of a jaywalker.

One vehicle was a Honda Accord, of which the driver died and the passenger is severely injured.

The driver of the second vehicle, a Toyota FJ, is severely injured. Slightly injured was the driver of the third vehicle, car type unknown.

All involved in the accident were Emirati.

In the first accident, police said the four-wheel driver crashed into the parked car as the driver lost control of his fast-speed vehicle. The vehicle crossed the yellow line and hit the parked saloon car. The saloon car was parked on the roadside due to a tyre problem, police said.

The accident happened today (Monday) afternoon at 3.10pm under the Al Warqa Interchange near Al Rashidiya Exit on Emirates Road.

The five people were from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Nepal. Among the dead two were Pakistanis and one Bangladeshi. The driver was said to be a Pakistani.The four-wheel driver has been arrested by the police.
A second major accident took place only four hours later, taking the life of one Emirati driver, the Dubai Traffic Police told this website.

At 7.10pm three vehicles clashed on Dubai Bypass Road (north), likely due to the appearance of a jaywalker.

One vehicle was a Honda Accord, of which the driver died and the passenger is severely injured.

The driver of the second vehicle, a Toyota FJ, is severely injured. Slightly injured was the driver of the third vehicle, car type unknown.

All involved in the accident were Emirati.

In the first accident, police said the four-wheel driver crashed into the parked car as the driver lost control of his fast-speed vehicle. The vehicle crossed the yellow line and hit the parked saloon car. The saloon car was parked on the roadside due to a tyre problem, police said.

The accident happened today (Monday) afternoon at 3.10pm under the Al Warqa Interchange near Al Rashidiya Exit on Emirates Road.

The five people were from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Nepal. Among the dead two were Pakistanis and one Bangladeshi. The driver was said to be a Pakistani.The four-wheel driver has been arrested by the police.

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18 persons killed in road accident in MP

The accident, involving four vehicles, took place near Maihar Cement plant in Maihar Tehsil of the district. A car was hit by a truck from behind, killing all its four occupants on the spot. At the same time, a Gama jeep carrying 24 persons was hit from rear by another truck loaded with iron rods, killing 14 persons and injuring eight others, Satna Collector KK Khare told PTI.

The injured were admitted in Satna and nearby hospitals, he said. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced ex-gratia of Rs one lakh each to the kin of the deceased, Rs 50,000 each to seriously injured and Rs 10,000 each to those who suffered minor wounds, Khare said. The district administration also announced financial aid of Rs 22,000 each to the family of the deceased persons and Rs 5,000 each to the injured, the Collector said.

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Three family members perish in Road Accident

THREE people from one family perished in Mutare on Saturday night while five others sustained serious injuries when the vehicle they were travelling in veered off the road and hit a tree.

Report By OBEY MANAYITI STAFF REPORTER

Manicaland police spokesperson Inspector Enock Chishiri confirmed the fatal crash and identified the deceased as Gilbert Sithole (63) from Harare, Sheila (25) and Mukudzei Chiota, both from Vambe village under Chief Chinamora.

Other occupants in the vehicle, Edmore Sithole (43), Hope Sithole (42), Bernadette Sithole (65), Tafadzwa Sithole (25), Trust Sithole (37) and Greater Chiota (52) sustained injuries. They were all rushed to Mutare Provincial Hospital for treatment.

According to police, the family members were travelling along Mutare-Masvingo Road when the accident happened at around 11:30pm.

“The driver of the vehicle Edward Edmore Sithole lost control of the Nissan truck they were traveling in at the 9km peg along Mutare-Masvingo Road. The vehicle veered off the road and hit a tree. Two people (Gilbert and Sheila) died on the spot,” Chishiri said. All other passengers were rushed to Mutare Provincial Hospital for treatment, but unfortunately Mukudzei died on admission.

Chishiri said police were still investigating the cause of the accident, but he warned drivers to be cautious on the roads this festive season.

“All drivers should be cautious on the roads this festive season. They should avoid driving while tired and should also check whether their vehicles are roadworthy or not before driving, so as to avoid accidents,” he said.

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10 killed as minibus rolls down gorge in Reasi

Katra, December 18
Ten persons were killed and four critically injured when a minibus rolled down a mountainous road while negotiating a turn in Reasi district this morning, the police said.

The minibus carrying 16 persons was on its way from Mahore to Jammu. The vehicle rolled down a 500-foot-deep gorge at Malai Nallah in Mahore tehsil, about 150 km from here, around 9.30 am.

The police said 10 persons, including the driver of the bus, were killed in the accident. The driver of the minibus apparently lost control over the vehicle while negotiating a sharp curve leading to the mishap.

The injured, airlifted to Government Medical College and Hospital, Jammu, have been identified as Nazeer Ahmed and Gulam Rasool, both residents of Mahore, and Shamshad Ahmed and Mujib Ahmed, residents of Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh.

The deceased have been identified as Nazir Ahmed, Abdul Rashid, Furnail Singh, Nain Singh, Chandia, Manzoor Ahmed, Abdul Rashid, Gullu, Shabar Ahmed and Mohammad Afzal, all residents of Mahore.

Minister for Higher Education, Labour and Employment Abdul Gani Malik reached the spot this afternoon to meet relatives of the victims. He expressed deep shock and grief over the accident.

The minister issued instructions to the local authorities to extend all possible medical aid to the injured.

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8 die in mishap near Narwana

As many as eight persons were killed and eight were injured, some of them seriously, in an accident near Dhakal village, about 45 km from here, on the Chandigarh-Hisar highway this morning. The injured have been referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, where the condition of some of the victims is reported to be critical.

Police sources said the head-on collision between a Tata Ace and a truck took place around 5.30 am today. As the visibility was poor owing to heavy fog, the mishap took place when the Tata Ace driver who was trying to overtake another vehicle rammed into a truck coming from the opposite direction. This is the same place where a similar accident had resulted in the death of a judicial officer about 10 days ago, said a police official.

While seven of the deceased–Ved Pal, his wife Raj Bala, Pala Ram, his wife Phoolo Devi, Suman, daughter of Pappu, Zile Singh of Kaithal and Krishan of Pehowa died on the spot, Gonu, a minor, succumbed to his injuries on the way to hospital.

The injured have been identified as Pappu, Titty, Pardeep, Rajiv, Pooja, Shivani, Jyoti and Monu. The victims belonged to some families travelling in the MUV to reach a religious Dera in Sirsa. They hailed from Sector 25 in Chandigarh and began their journey late last night . The truck carrying vegetables was on its way to Kaithal .

A case has been registered in this connection.

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SHO among five injured in mishap

Police vehicle in MP Naveen Jindal’s convoy falls into a roadside ditch
Our Correspondent

Kaithal, December 15
As many as four policemen, including Rajound police station in charge, and a civilian were injured when a police Gypsy leading the convoy of MP Naveen Jindal fell into a roadside ditch. The incident took place when the Gypsy driver tried to avert a head on collision with a tractor-trolley coming from the opposite direction.

The tractor driver also suffered injuries in the mishap. However, the vehicle in which the MP was travelling remained untouched.

Sources said on Saturday evening, Naveen Jindal landed at Rajound grain market and proceeded towards Khurra village to condole the death of Karan Singh who was shot dead during a marriage procession last week. As the convoy reached near a bridge on the Assandh road, an overloaded tractor-trolley hit a tree and was likely to hit the police vehicle. As the driver of speeding police vehicle tried to avoid collision, it fell into the ditch.

Injured Rajound SHO Kashmir Singh, ASI Shamsher Singh, constables Anju and Bharat Singh and Ram Mehar, driver of the tractor, were rushed to a hospital. Later, Kashmir Singh and Anju were reportedly referred to Chandigarh.

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Bridging the Road Safety Knowledge Gap

On June 25-28, country staff from the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB) and national public works ministries joined the Global Road Safety Facility in Tunis, Tunisia for a training workshop on the fundamentals of the safe system approach.

The magnitude of the road safety problem in Africa cannot be underestimated. Despite low motorization rates, fatal accidents are four times as likely to occur on African roads as in high-income countries. Across the continent, road traffic injuries have become a predominant problem for the very young (second cause of death for the 4 -14 year old age group) and the economically active. Conservative estimates place the associated costs at $10 billion a year, larger than the sum of all the development aid dedicated to infrastructure for the region. Left unchecked, fatal accidents could increase by 80% over the next decade.
These injuries and their associated economic losses are largely preventable through the adoption of a safe system approach that places the onus on institutional reform, investment strategies and results-oriented interventions aimed at scaling up country road safety programs to achieve and sustain higher levels of performance. Knowledge transfer plays a pivotal role in getting more countries around the world to adopt the safe system framework.

At the heart of this training workshop is an unprecedented joint commitment taken in 2009 by seven Multi-lateral Development Banks (MDBs) to step up road safety management knowledge transfer to low and middle income countries and scale up training in key areas related to accelerating these Banks’ capacity to implement activity on the ground in accordance with best practices. In Tunis, this translated into interactive sessions on road safety management systems, risk factors, effective campaigns & enforcement programs, performance indicators and data sources supported by country and regional case studies.

“Participation and participant response has been very encouraging”, noted Tawia Addo-Ashong, Program Coordinator of the Global Road Safety Facility. “The World Bank, AfDB and other MDBs are in the process of mainstreaming road safety into their operations and so this workshop was extremely timely to them”.

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Pushing for Pedal Power

Waiting for a revolution on two wheels — Putting more Indians on bicycles for their regular commute would yield multiple benefits: freedom from fossil fuels, reduced pollution and congestion. Official policy recognises all these gains, but has failed to reinvent cycling for cities.

Many cities are cycling towards a better future. By shifting to two better wheels, more people are able to commute to work with ease and rediscover the pleasure of streets. Mobility has improved, congestion has eased and pollution has reduced. Reinventing bicycles has turned out to be the great urban story of the decade.

European cities are leading this renaissance and their successful bicycle programmes are widely replicated in various cities, from China to the United States, with a great sense of urgency. In contrast, Indian cities have hardly made plans to promote bicycles. Even the visible success of global cycling cities has not stirred the urban-policy makers here. After years of persuasion, instead of sprinting to catch up, they have just started to take hesitant steps towards bikes.

Cycling is not new to India. It was widely used for commuting, and until about 1994, its share in total daily trips made in cities was as high as 30 per cent. Instead of finding ways of capitalising on this large user base, transport policies over the years overlooked bicycles and promoted private motorised transport. Consequently, roads started to accommodate only motorised transport, edging out the bikes. The share of bicycles trips tumbled, reaching 11 per cent by 2008.

Turnaround in Europe

European cities too neglected bicycles in favour of cars, but they were wise enough to turn around quickly. Cycles which started as a niche recreational mode of transport in the 1900s became the popular transport choice of the lower- and middle-income groups in the following decades. But in the 1950s, as a study by Fietsberaad, the Dutch knowledge institute on bicycling, shows, its use declined sharply due to the rise of cars and increasing state support for private transport. In many cities, bicycle infrastructure was removed, cycle tracks were turned into car lanes and parking lots.

Such myopic policies proved detrimental. It increased fuel consumption; choked streets, caused emissions from motorised transport to exceed limits and denied equitable use of roads. In the late 1960s, though, city managers changed direction and took to bicycles in a big way. Apart from laying dedicated tracks, enhancing safety measures, and integrating with overall transport plans, they introduced a new public bicycle sharing system. Unlike the conventional renting system where one had to bring the cycle back to the same point where it was hired, the new system allowed users to drop the bike at docking stations near their destination. This was flexible, convenient and provided more choice. Bicycle use has risen significantly.

The share of cycle trips in the city increased significantly. In the Netherlands, it is as high as 35-40 per cent, and in Denmark it is 15-20 per cent. Even in the car-obsessed American cities, the share of bicycle trips tripled between 1977 and 2009. In Portland, the bike is the fast-growing mode of transport, and in New York about 200,000 people bicycle every day.

Key reasons for the success are convenience, safety and better speed. Most trip lengths are about 5 km, and this distance can be easily covered with bicycles. Public cycle sharing systems too offer a free ride for the first 30 minutes to encourage the use of two-wheelers for short distances. Riding is safe in dedicated lanes and the speed has also enhanced — one can reach about 20 km an hour. This is far more than the crawling speed of cars on urban Indian roads.

Cities consume 75 per cent of the energy and emit 80 per cent of the greenhouse gases. Promoting cycling is critical to reduce emissions and make cities resource efficient. A recent study by the University of California, Berkeley, estimates that in the case of the Vélib bicycle system in Paris, which covers an estimated 312,000 km a day, the saving is approximately 57,720 kg of CO a day. Reduction in pollution levels also improves public health. Research by Sustrans, a sustainable transport advocacy group in the U.K., shows that every £1 invested in cycling generates about £9 worth of benefits in decreased congestion and health costs.

Asian cities, once a haven for cycles, are showing a sense of urgency in rediscovering cycling. Hangzhou in China started its bike sharing programme in 2008 and quickly grew to be the largest in Asia with a fleet of 65,000 bicycles and more than 2,500 docking stations. It generates 172,000 trips a day, covers about 1 million km a day and avoids about 190,920 kg of CO in emissions. Korea plans to develop a 3,114-km bicycle-only network by 2018. Taiwan, too, has enthusiastically embraced bicycle programmes.

Indian cities have been lethargic and have not harnessed the available potential. The 2011 census figures reveal that a large number of people still own and use bicycles. Of the 246 million households in the country, 44.8 per cent own bicycles. In cities, while the percentage of car ownership is as low as 9.7 per cent, the bicycle ownership is 42 per cent. In Delhi alone, 2.8 million trips are made every day with cycles, almost equal to the number of car trips. Unfortunately, these figures have not had any bearing on transport policies, and people continue to rely increasingly on motorised transport and bear the burden of spiralling fuel costs.

NUTP ignored

The National Urban Transport Policy, 2006 announced that a more equitable allocation of road space and greater use of non-motorised transport would be among its thrust areas, but not much happened in the years that followed. Even the National Mission for Sustainable Development, proposed in 2008 and set up in 2010 to promote green cities, did not push for bicycle programmes. Fragmented cycle tracks started emerging alongside Bus Rapid Transit lanes, but a concerted plan was missing. Only in 2011 did the government announce a comprehensive national scheme to promote bicycle use and followed it up with toolkits published recently to help the States. A few cities have taken the initiative and are in the initial stages of rolling them out.

Questions whether European models would work in Indian conditions can be easily sorted out. What is more crucial is that local governments should have the will to invest in this sustainable mode of transport. Clearly, marking dedicated, well-designed cycle lanes on roads and ensuring safe riding are not only crucial for the success of cycling , it will also be a demonstration of the state’s commitment to share road space more equitably.

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