Potholes on roads across the world are snatching away millions of lives, isn’t there a permanent solution to this problem?


Although it cannot be considered appropriate to compare the loss of life due to terrorist activities with the accidents and deaths due to potholes on the roads in the countries of the world, but due to a little carelessness on the part of those responsible, the deaths due to road potholes are increasing. The figure becomes a cause for serious concern. Although terrorists have different objectives, it is in our hands to repair the potholes on the roads. This may seem a bit strange but the reality is that potholes on the roads in the country and the world are overshadowing the terrorist activities of the world. If global data is analyzed, 5226 people died due to terrorist activities in 2021. On the other hand, in America alone, more than 15 thousand died due to potholes on roads in 2021. Similarly, 1390 people died in England, 3565 in India and 431 in Russia. This is about four times more than the deaths due to terrorism.

More or less, in the countries of the world even today, the number of deaths due to accidents due to potholes on the roads is increasing year after year. According to a report by the Union Road and Transport Ministry, most of the deaths in road accidents in India are due to potholes on the roads. Now the responsibility of death due to potholes in the road cannot be given to anyone other than the government or the local administration. Even if deaths are kept aside, if we analyze other losses caused by potholes on the roads, it becomes clear that this is not a small loss of revenue but is also associated with huge losses. For example, according to a study conducted in Chennai, revenue of Rs 75 crore is lost every day due to road potholes. This is just an example and from this it can be easily inferred that potholes on the road are the main cause of both loss of life and loss of money.

It is not that governments or countries of the world are not serious about this problem, but the results that are seen year after year are serious in themselves. The global seriousness of road potholes can be understood from the fact that experts believe that National Pothole Day is celebrated every year on 15 January. In England, there is a provision to compensate citizens for damage caused by potholes. On the other hand, the countries of the world also hold big national and international level conferences, seminars, symposiums, public awareness rallies regarding the accidents and deaths due to potholes on the roads, and education training is given to the engineers and other personnel engaged in road construction. Are being given. It is also clear that the main causes of potholes are not hidden from anyone. Broadly speaking, poor design of roads, light road construction material, ignoring road construction standards, filling of roads with water, negligence in maintenance and upkeep, greedy attitude of contractors and officials, negligence in repair work of roads, lack of quality. There are many reasons like lack of attention, lack of proper drainage of water on the roads and similar reasons due to which potholes are formed on the roads. If you look at it, due to a little neglect, carelessness and a little greed, these roads become the cause of death. Apart from causing problems to the common people, it also leads to loss of government money. It is not hidden from anyone that not only death occurs in an accident due to pothole but also how much damage is caused. On one hand, other damages caused by potholes along with accidents cannot be ignored. There are many such losses which cannot be ignored, including damage to vehicle parts, tyres, etc., back pain caused by bumps to a common man, adverse effect on the health of a sick person, loss of fuel, loss of time etc.

Recently, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has taken the initiative to provide facilities or steps like making the concerned engineers and others responsible for the negligence in road construction, proper maintenance, monitoring through drones and making people complain on toll numbers. Similarly, this provision has also been made and is being made by many state governments that if the road gets damaged before the specified time limit, then the responsibility for it will be on the contractor who built the road. But the extent to which it is being maintained is not hidden from anyone, rather it is visible that once the road is built, there is no visible trace of it and then sometimes a major accident occurs and due to which a tornado occurs. It is only when there is commotion that one wakes up.

There is no doubt that today one new technology has arrived in the country and the world. This also includes the technology of road construction. Cement concrete roads have started being built at water logging places, but the same three layers of concrete are visible and questions are being raised on the quality of the roads every day. However, this is not a question to be raised but a matter to be seen. The situation has become so bad that even on toll roads, the condition of the roads is not looking very good. After all, any loss of life or money due to potholes or other reasons is a national loss. Therefore, government and non-government organizations working in this area will have to come forward and at least potholes on roads should not be allowed to become the cause of death. One has to think about how much havoc a small carelessness of a responsible person can wreak on a family. The Central Road Transport and Highways Ministry as well as the State Road Transport Ministries, especially the organizations involved in road construction, will have to pay attention to the construction of accident-free roads as well as the maintenance of the roads.

-Dr. Rajendra Prasad Sharma

(The author is a senior columnist)

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