Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Deadly Cocktail

A study says mobiles, alcohol and motor bikes are main causes of road accidents in the valley

Srinagar Tops Road Accidents

Mudasir Kuloo (Kashmir Monitor)

Srinagar: An alarming increase in the number of vehicles in the Valley has resulted in an unprecedented increase in traffic accidents. The official figures reveal a horrible scenario as the two-wheeler related accidents leads the Srinagar city in traffic fatalities and accidents.

Official records of Traffic Department reveal that at least 492 incidents took place in the year 2011 in the Srinagar district alone, in which 75 persons were killed and 511 injured. However, experts believe the number of accidents is higher as majority of the accidents go unreported.

The statement showing month wise road accidents by the Traffic Department for Srinagar district for the year 2012 says, 16 accidents took place in January while in August the number increased to 54 accidents. From January 2012 to August 2012, 352 accidents were reported in the Srinagar district.

The recent statement shows a 15 percent increase in accidents this year as compared to the previous year. Figures say that 41 persons were killed in the year 2011 as against 41 persons have already been killed this year till August in the summer capital.

While 309 persons were injured in 2011 as against 373 persons have been injured this year till August. Official records of Traffic Department reveal that 41 persons have been killed till August this year. However, officials believe that the actual number could be higher as majority of the accidents go unreported here. During the current year two-wheeler related accidents lead the figures with 85 accidents reported, followed by Tata Sumo accidents of which account to 31 cases in Srinagar.

In the month of August this year, 53 major accidents have taken place which claimed many lives. While in the same month 15 major scooter accidents have taken place in Srinagar city. There is a huge increase in the number of two-wheeler accidents. In the year 2011, 74 major scooter accidents were reported while this year the graph has increased to 85 till August.

Officials believe the number of accidents could be double this year than the previous year. Officials said 3,288 persons were killed and 27,165 injured in 18,786 accidents in the state during the last three years. The causes behind the road accidents are rash driving, use of alcohol while driving, use of mobile phones, bad conditions of roads as well as those of vehicles.

Traffic officials claim that heavy penalty should be imposed on all those who cross speed limits. “If this is strictly implemented nobody will dare to go at high speed. Heavy penalty should be imposed for those who cause accident,” they said.

Mohammad Hassan Dar, a driver by profession believes that driving test for issue of driving license needs to be made more stringent and full proof. “The Transport Department should not issue driving licenses randomly but should make more stringent measures and take proper driving tests before issuing licenses,” he said.

Superintendent of traffic police, Srinagar, Haseeb-ur-Rehman, said the department has taken several measures to curb the increasing number of traffic accidents and blamed rash and negligent driving for most deaths here. “We have installed signals and dividers and have used latest technology to reduce the number of traffic accidents. We have also placed speed breakers on various locations so that the drivers would limit their speed.” He said over speeding is the main reason for the traffic accidents that takes place here

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