Plus & Minus

“A weekly column: Plus&Minus will be published in Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live. This will speak to the ordinary reader on contemporary economic issues in a simple format”.

    Saving Lives on Jaipur’s Roads?
    Hindustan Times Jaipur Live, November 16, 2009

By Pradeep S Mehta

Jaipur is one of the worst five cities in the country for road accident deaths. In 2006, the rate of traffic accident deaths per million population in Jaipur was 233, as against Amritsar’s 33 or Kolkata’s 36. Agra topped the list at 317.

The government can deal with the problem by implementing traffic calming measures recommended by study carried out by NGO CUTS and the Lund University of Sweden on the high accident zones of Jaipur city. The Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) supported the study.

Sweden has developed pioneering traffic safety systems that are being emulated around the world. Using the famous Swedish conflict technology, the CUTS research study has come up with distinctive traffic calming strategies that, if implemented, will reduce the rate of accidents and improve the environment by bringing down the levels of noise and air pollution.

The study has triggered a debate for the first time in India, emphasising that every road user has a right to feel safe and comfortable on roads. But the Jaipur Development Authority’s response to the study has been cold, despite several rounds of meetings with the project members during the past two years.

The authority says the Indian Road Congress (IRC) norms do not allow speed breakers and raised zebra crossings – recommended by the study – on roads.

The World Health Organisation termed road fatalities as an epidemic in its first ever ‘Global Status Report on Road Safety’ released on June 15, 2009. WHO predicts that road accident is going to be the fifth biggest killer by 2030.

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