Post WKH tragedy, focus on road safety

Does MV Act allow trucks to ferry passengers?

SHILLONG: Following the tragic road accident in West Khasi Hills that claimed 17 lives, the district administration has now decided to strictly implement safety regulations to check rash and careless driving.
West Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Arunkumar Kembhavi said the driver of the truck was driving recklessly and hence an FIR has been lodged against him.
The journey to attend a church gathering in West Khasi Hills on Sunday morning turned fatal as 17 occupants of a speeding truck that was carrying 78 people died after the vehicle rammed into a concrete barricade on National Highway 44(E). In the incident, 61 people were also seriously injured.
“The surveillance on the highway will be increased with the support of the District Transport Officer and the District police,” he said.
When asked if ex-gratia payment would be given to the relatives of the unfortunate victims, the DC said the State Government has asked him to submit a proposal in this regard.
When asked about the complaints that the road where the accident occurred is dangerous, Kembhavi said there is nothing wrong with the road and it is a world-class highway with all the pavements and barricades.
Meanwhile, there were rumours that two more persons have succumbed to their injuries on Monday but Kembhavi said there were no such reports. He added that 23 people were shifted to different hospitals of Shillong for treatment. East Khasi Hills SP M. Kharkrang also confirmed that there were no reports of further deaths from Sunday’s incident.  It may be mentioned that all the 78 passengers were on their way to attend a Synod (religious conclave) at Nonglang village under Nongspung in the district when the accident took place after the driver, Oldining Syiem, lost control while taking a turn.
Eyewitnesses to the incident said the truck turned turtle three times over.
The incident has once again exposed the harsh reality that traffic rules are regularly violated by drivers with impunity, especially in rural areas. That a goods truck was ferrying as many as 78 passengers shows complete lack of traffic governance.   The incident also points to the culpability of traffic police manning the double lane roads where vehicles tend to over-speed.

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