Road accidents are occurring at a rapid frequency in Nepal and accounting for hundreds of deaths every year. Just the other day, 28 people were killed and many others injured when a bus driven by a drunk driver fell 300 metres onto the banks of the Tila river. This is one instance where the negligence of the bus operator led to the death of so many people. In fact, so many deaths in one particular accident show that all is not well with the surface transportation system. It is said that the vehicle drivers remain the prime cause of road accidents. It is true that the road conditions as well as the roadworthiness of the vehicles also reflect on how safely the vehicles will reach their destination. Not only along the mountain roads but also on the plain roads, the accident rate is picking up which is quite alarming. However, the western part of the country is seeing a shocking increase in the number of road accidents. There are many reasons why this is happening, which also calls for greater studies on how journeys by road could be made safer and more reliable.
If the roads like the one that links Surkhet and Jumla is observed, one would easily surmise that the road conditions are to be blamed for the risks that it puts to drivers. It is a single lane road which makes travelling a perilous affair. Moreover, with no strict rules attached on officially checking the roadworthiness of the vehicles, particularly the buses and mini-buses, there is hardly any attention given to the capabilities and experience of the drivers taking to the mountain roads. All these add to become perfect ingredients for accidents, often claiming a heavy human toll. Now, while the spate of accidents continue to wreak human tragedy, the government has not responded well enough. To condole someone’s death in a accident alone is not enough, the government must move immediately to find out the causes and formulate and implement road safety strategies. It is also equally important that the genuine people receive the driver’s license. But, with rampant corruption and fraudsters and forgers active, a driving licence can be had for a few thousand rupees. It can be imagined what driving skills such persons would have.
Old and dilapidated public vehicles ought to be taken off the roads with immediate effect. But, this only cannot reduce the number of accidents. The road infrastructure must be scientifically developed with careful thoughts on making it vehicle and driver-friendly. Not only the condition of the vehicles must be evaluated regularly, but also the health and reflex condition of the drivers needs be checked. The anti-drunk driving move by the traffic police has definitely worked in bringing down the number of accidents in the Kathmandu valley. This is one area which must be given stress throughout the country, especially on the tricky mountain roads. Rules and regulations have to be implemented strictly, and there should be no let up. Now Dashain and Tihar is round the corner, and there will be thousands of people returning home by surface transport. And it is a time for making the journey safe and sound by following the traffic rules, not overloading passengers, having fit drivers and the like.
The summer season, particularly, is when people should be careful about what they eat and drink. Water-borne diseases are especially virulent during this season. This year too, as in the previous years, diseases like diarrhea have taken a heavy toll of human lives. It can be assumed that these diseases have led to many succumbing to dehydration and the like. Again, if one has to eat out one should be cautious. Properly treated or boiled water should always be used for drinking purposes. Incidents of people being afflicted with diseases like typhoid are now commonplace. This serious disease is also caused from the contaminated food and water.
It is indeed a pity that in our country many people lose their lives from easily preventable and treatable diseases. This shows that adequate health infrastructure is not in place. Meanwhile, awareness should be generated to take extra precautions and eat only safe and healthy food. The eateries, in particular, should be closely monitored to ensure that they serve only fresh and hygienic food.