Odisha misses target to reduce road accident fatalities, instead records sharp rise


With an exception of four districts — Deogarh, Ganjam, Puri and Subarnapur — there has been an increase in fatalities in all the districts in the State.

Odisha has registered a sharp rise in road accident fatalities in the five years ending in 2020 against the target reduction in deaths by 50% during same period.

The State transport department has directed all District Collectors to conduct stringent enforcement of violation of helmet law as almost 40% of the persons killed were found to be two-wheeler riders.

Besides, emphasis has been laid on optimum use of devices like such as highway interceptors, breathe analysers and portable weigh bridges for detection of traffic rule violators.

A committee on road safety headed by a retired Supreme Court judge had directed Odisha to reduce road accident fatalities by 50% by 2020 in a period of five years. The committee’s direction came in the wake of high growth in road fatalities in Odisha compared to national average.

“Unfortunately, there has been steady increase in number of fatalities from 2014 (3,931) to 2019 (4,738), an increase of about 21% during the period for which the Committee have expressed their concern. Unfortunately, this trend of increase in fatalities is also continuing during the year 2021,” said State Commerce and Transport Secretary Madhu Sudan Padhi in a letter to all District Collectors.

Mr. Padhi also pointed out that, “there has been abnormal increase in fatalities by about 27.60% during the period January to April, 2021 compared to same period of 2020.”

With an exception of four districts — Deogarh, Ganjam, Puri and Subarnapur — there has been an increase in fatalities in all the districts in the State.

Though highway patrol was introduced in 19 stretches with dedicated patrol vehicle and staff, their performance was found not satisfactory. The highway patrol teams were required to ensure enforcement of rules and shift accident victims to nearest hospitals.

The Collectors were directed to submit a report within 15 days as to why the fatalities increased in the district abnormally.

As much as 115% growth in road fatalities, the highest in the State, has been recorded in Malkangiri from January to April this year compared to the corresponding period in 2020. Jagatsinghpur, Jharsuguda and Nuapada have registered above 80% rise in road accident deaths during this period.

During January to September 2020, enforcement squads of police had detected about 2.15 lakh helmet law violations and regional transport officers had detected about 50,000 such violations. However, only 367 driving licenses were suspended in the State.

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