Monday, August 21, 2000,
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Deaths up by 500 per cent in 20 years
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 20 There has been more than 500 per cent increase in road accident deaths in Punjab during the past 20 years. Against 472 deaths in 1980, nearly 2,800 persons lost their lives while travelling on roads during 1999-2000.

The increase in fatalities in the state has been both startling and shocking.

Interestingly, in 1980, deaths in road accidents were fewer than the number of murders (620) in Punjab. And now when the number of murders in Punjab is around 800 a year, the deaths in road accidents are around 2,800 350 per cent more.

In fact, road fatalities now match the number of militant killings in the state in the late 80s and early 90s. For example, there were 2813 murders in Punjab in 1990 , 70 per cent of which were attributed to militant violence. And during the last financial year, as many persons were killed in road accidents.

The worst killer on Punjab roads are trucks, followed by cars, buses and two-wheelers, especially scooters. Of 3,579 vehicles involved in all accidents during 1998, 1,091 were trucks and 740 cars. Buses came third with 526.

If one looks at the figures of 1980, the number of trucks and buses involved in road accidents was nearly the same. At that time, more buses (286) were involved in road accidents than trucks (259). The involvement of cars (68) was marginal.

While the involvement of cars in road accidents has multiplied 10 times since then, the number of buses involved has increased by a little more than 100 per cent during the same period. In the case of scooters, the number has multiplied nearly five times.

The growth in the number of cars in the state has been nearly 800 per cent in the past two decades while two-wheelers have multiplied by almost 10 times from 1.76 lakh to nearly 19.55 lakh vehicles.

Another interesting phenomenon has been that the number of deaths in road accidents in smaller towns like Faridkot, Muktsar, Moga, Mansa and Nawanshahr has been witnessing only a marginal increase or decrease with the sole exception of Kapurthala where the deaths fell from 125 in 1997 to 96 in 1998.

In Muktsar , the number of accident deaths increased from 29 in 1997 to 46 in 1998.

However, Ludhiana city and major towns like Patiala and Ropar recorded a very high incidence of accident deaths. In the case of Ludhiana, there were 399 deaths in 1997, though the number fell steeply to 294 in 1998. On the other hand, in Patiala accident deaths increased from 288 in 1997 to 334 in 1998. The rise in accident deaths in Ropar was phenomenal. From 169 in 1997, the tally was 221 in 1998.

The higher incidence of road accident deaths in Ludhiana, Ropar and Patiala has been attributed to the huge volume of vehicular traffic on inter-state and state highways passing through these districts. Studies reveal that the involvement of trucks, buses and cars in accidents on highways has been rising rapidly.

Within the districts, deaths in road accidents were primarily related to two-wheelers. Unlike Haryana, the involvement of state-owned buses in road accidents in Punjab is far less. Though both Haryana and the Chandigarh police have regular traffic wings, Punjab disbanded its state traffic police when Mr Beant Singh was the Chief Minister. Now, following directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Punjab has appointed an officer of the rank of IG to monitor the implementation of the guidelines of the court as well as the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.

 

Vehicles Registered in Punjab

Year         Buses           Cars        Jeeps        Taxis          3-wheelers      2-wheelers

1980        5,850          25,888     5,495       1,867            2,897            1,76,555

1990        9,470          66,312     12,453      4,034           13,550           8,77,837

1997        13,823        1,19,958   20,028     5,166           22,337          16,30,068

2000        15,708        1,70,925   23,111      6,065          26,664          19,54,764

Accidents: Involvement of various types of vehicles

year         Buses         Cars         Jeeps       Trucks        3-wheelers        2-wheelers

1980         286           68            31          259               16                    55

1990         293           177          77          398                33                    93

1997         522           631           X*         936                X*                   214

1998         526           740           X*         1091               X*                  270

X* figures included in other categories

Deaths in road accidents

Year             Accidents               Vehicles involved               Killed               Injured

1980              1,010                        1,064                       472                 836

1990              1,621                        1,621                       1,133              1,322

1997              3,301                        3,301                       2,353              2,721

1998              3,579                        3,579                       2,295              2,705

Districts with more than 150 deaths in road accidents in 1997/1998

District      Accidents      Vehicles involved      Persons killed      Persons injured 

                     1997/1998           1997/1998              1997/1998           1997/1998

Ludhiana       543/500               543/500                 399/294              280/297

Patiala          483/542               483/542                 288/334              376/301

Amritsar        286/282                286/282                 218/187             298/308

Ropar           291/374                291/374                169/221              243/410

Hoshiarpur     213/232                213/232               165/152               204/267

Gurdaspur      266/207                266/207               162/115               179/186

Sangrur         210/240                210/240               161/149               233/209

Jalandhar       247/237                247/237               156/163               167/142

Punjab Roadways buses and accidents

Year                  Accidents                  Persons killed                  Persons injured 

 1998-99              199                          118                              138

1999-00               162                          106                              164

Concluded  

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