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Vehicles flout norms, authorities mum: Prof Dutta

By Staff Reporter
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GUWAHATI, Feb 28 - Accusing the State Government � the Transport Department and police in particular � of making a total surrender before the lobby of commercial vehicle owners and operators, particularly city bus, long-distance bus, trekker, auto-rickshaw and auto-delivery van, truck, mini truck and dumper, public activist Prof Deven Dutta said that successive State governments kept ignoring the vital issue for decades for reasons best known to them.

�No doubt a section of private car drivers/owners and bikers are responsible for many accidents, but the biggest culprit happens to be a large section of drivers, especially drivers of commercial vehicles like buses, trucks, trekkers, dumpers, etc., who have made it a habit to flout all rules and norms with impunity. These anti-social elements get emboldened as they rarely face action from the police and transport authorities for their acts of violations. The transport and police authorities, in particular, invariably choose to turn a blind eye to their high-handedness,� Prof Dutta said in a statement.

Pointing out that some 4,000 to 6,000 people are dying on the roads of Assam � mostly due to reckless driving by commercial drivers � Prof Dutta asked how many more lives would have to be lost before the current Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary comes up with some meaningful interventions.

�The alarming incidence of road accidents in the State as also the deteriorating traffic problems and the most uncivilised public transport system corroborate the fact that State Government, the Transport Department, the administration and the police have done little to stem the rot,� he added.

Prof Dutta further accused different political parties and student organisations of not raising the issue of road accident deaths and the crumbling public transport, saying that most of the leaders of such parties and organisations own commercial vehicles and hence desist from talking about violation of rules and norms by their vehicles.

�Rarely have we any discussion on the grave issue of road accidents in the State Assembly. Nor is there any question asked on the matter. This is because Assam�s politics has been dominated by liquor and transport lobbies for a long time,� he said.

Prof Dutta said that given the huge number of casualties in accidents, the State Government ought to have treated it as a serious law-and-order problem and initiated remedial measures accordingly, but it chose instead to remain a mute spectator.

�Provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act are flouted with impunity, as is evident from overloaded city buses and other long and short-distance buses, the shockingly reckless driving of city buses, trekkers and delivery vans, dumpers, mini trucks, and the parking of commercial vehicles at places meant for private vehicles, besides the wild driving indulged in by some private car and two-wheeler owners, especially the youth,� Prof Dutta said.

Prof Dutta said that the city buses and trekkers operate as per their whims and flout all norms like stopping at unauthorised points and for a long time at the designated bus stops, creating traffic snarls. �Issuance of tickets to passengers has ceased since long, and the conductors and handymen often behave in an uncivilized manner,� he said, adding that rowdy elements have taken complete control of the city�s public transport.

Criticising the City Traffic Police, Prof Dutta said the role of the traffic police has been reduced to clearing the road for ensuring safe passage of �so-called� VIPs including ministers, MLAs and bureaucrats. He said that the �so-called VIPs� apart, the various armed forces also travel in a manner as if they are the law unto themselves.

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Vehicles flout norms, authorities mum: Prof Dutta

GUWAHATI, Feb 28 - Accusing the State Government � the Transport Department and police in particular � of making a total surrender before the lobby of commercial vehicle owners and operators, particularly city bus, long-distance bus, trekker, auto-rickshaw and auto-delivery van, truck, mini truck and dumper, public activist Prof Deven Dutta said that successive State governments kept ignoring the vital issue for decades for reasons best known to them.

�No doubt a section of private car drivers/owners and bikers are responsible for many accidents, but the biggest culprit happens to be a large section of drivers, especially drivers of commercial vehicles like buses, trucks, trekkers, dumpers, etc., who have made it a habit to flout all rules and norms with impunity. These anti-social elements get emboldened as they rarely face action from the police and transport authorities for their acts of violations. The transport and police authorities, in particular, invariably choose to turn a blind eye to their high-handedness,� Prof Dutta said in a statement.

Pointing out that some 4,000 to 6,000 people are dying on the roads of Assam � mostly due to reckless driving by commercial drivers � Prof Dutta asked how many more lives would have to be lost before the current Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary comes up with some meaningful interventions.

�The alarming incidence of road accidents in the State as also the deteriorating traffic problems and the most uncivilised public transport system corroborate the fact that State Government, the Transport Department, the administration and the police have done little to stem the rot,� he added.

Prof Dutta further accused different political parties and student organisations of not raising the issue of road accident deaths and the crumbling public transport, saying that most of the leaders of such parties and organisations own commercial vehicles and hence desist from talking about violation of rules and norms by their vehicles.

�Rarely have we any discussion on the grave issue of road accidents in the State Assembly. Nor is there any question asked on the matter. This is because Assam�s politics has been dominated by liquor and transport lobbies for a long time,� he said.

Prof Dutta said that given the huge number of casualties in accidents, the State Government ought to have treated it as a serious law-and-order problem and initiated remedial measures accordingly, but it chose instead to remain a mute spectator.

�Provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act are flouted with impunity, as is evident from overloaded city buses and other long and short-distance buses, the shockingly reckless driving of city buses, trekkers and delivery vans, dumpers, mini trucks, and the parking of commercial vehicles at places meant for private vehicles, besides the wild driving indulged in by some private car and two-wheeler owners, especially the youth,� Prof Dutta said.

Prof Dutta said that the city buses and trekkers operate as per their whims and flout all norms like stopping at unauthorised points and for a long time at the designated bus stops, creating traffic snarls. �Issuance of tickets to passengers has ceased since long, and the conductors and handymen often behave in an uncivilized manner,� he said, adding that rowdy elements have taken complete control of the city�s public transport.

Criticising the City Traffic Police, Prof Dutta said the role of the traffic police has been reduced to clearing the road for ensuring safe passage of �so-called� VIPs including ministers, MLAs and bureaucrats. He said that the �so-called VIPs� apart, the various armed forces also travel in a manner as if they are the law unto themselves.