Begin typing your search above and press return to search.

Insensitivity to public safety norms decried

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Aug 1 � The State Government and its different departments� shocking insensitiveness to public safety often comes to the fore through their various acts of omission and commission. The Sixmile-Jaya Nagar Road, an important road that is connected to the Express Highway facilitating movement of heavy vehicles, is a case in point.

On either side of the two-lane road, one can see electric posts encroaching some 12 feet into the road, constricting over one-third of road space. Apart from narrowing the road and impeding smooth flow of vehicles, the electric poles pose a grave hazard in that they maximize the risk of accidents. In fact, there have already been several road mishaps directly attributable to the electric poles.

The road was widened a few years back but the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) � for reasons best known to it � did not take the trouble of shifting the power poles that stand almost in the middle of the road at some points.

Public activist Prof Deven Dutta who led a team of journalists to the area said that it was criminal negligence on the part of the ASEB authorities to leave the electric posts in that manner. He also questioned the role of the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), PWD, Police and the district administration which seem totally unperturbed by the dangerous situation.

�How can power poles be allowed to stay in the middle of a road? There are several authorities that should have intervened to prevent this blatantly illegal act. Such lawlessness is perpetuating only because from officers to ministers all are neck-deep in corruption,� Prof Dutta said. He added that heavy vehicles were often parked on the space between the electric poles and the footpath by greasing the palms of police and Transport Department personnel. �People have reason to believe that a part of the share reaches all the higher-ups � including ministers � of the departments. Otherwise such illegalities cannot go on and on,� he said.

Prof Dutta said that by continuously ignoring the public safety aspects in a brazen manner, the ASEB had forfeited its right to effect hikes in power tariff. �It has done little to mend its ways. The T&D loss continues to be abnormally high along with rampant power theft,� he said.

Prof Dutta said that at a time when road mishaps were assuming alarming proportions all over the State, the authorities were heightening the risk of accidents manifold by their thoughtless and corrupt practices.

Prof Dutta lambasted the MLAs, especially those from the Opposition, who he said were a completely cut-off lot from the public and hence the bizarre insensitiveness to issues of vital public interest. �The MLAs have failed miserably in highlighting and addressing the people�s problems. Within the Assembly also, they rarely debate on genuine public issues, wasting precious time over trivial matters, personal jibes, and indulging in walkouts�they have lost the right to represent the people,� he said, adding that even the �so-called leftist MLAs who claim to be on the mass� side� were actually hoodwinking the people by their silence on crucial matters.

Next Story