Dilapidated condition of Mughal Road
STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: In the much publicized Public Interest Litigation (PIL No. 30/2019) filed by a practicing lawyer Intakhab Ahmed Qazi highlighting dilapidated condition of Mughal Road and rampant road accidents on aforesaid road and other areas of UT of J&K, a Division Bench of J&K High Court comprising Chief Justice (Acting) Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Sanjay Dhar directed Govt of J&K to place before the court as to whether there is any plan to construct a Traffic Park in J&K so that proper driving test is taken while issuing the driving licenses and further school students are also educated to obey the Traffic Rules.
When highlighting gruesome killing of 11 young female students of Surankote in a fatal road accident on historic Mughal Road on June 27, 2019, Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocate Supriya Chouhan (through virtual mode) appearing for petitioner Intakhab Ahmed Qazi submitted that the condition of Mughal Road is pathetic and dilapidated and there has been rampant road accidents. Advocate Ahmed further submitted that there is inadequate Nafri of Traffic Police on the said picturesque road and IGP (Traffic) J&K in his affidavit has conceded shortage of Traffic Police in the entire UT of J&K.
Advocate S S Ahmed further submitted that a departmental inquiry was conducted against DTI Inspector Kesar Singh (DTI Kishtwar) with regard to a fatal road accident at Sirigwari Nallah when the offending vehicle was on way from Keshwan to Kishtwar resulting into death of 35 persons and the inquiry officer recommended a written warning and the same was accepted by the competent authority. Similarly, with regard to the fatal road accident on Mughal Road wherein 11 young girls lost their lives, the annual increment in respect of Inspector Farooq Ahmed (DTI Pulwama-Shopian), Inspector Niaz Ahmed (DTI Mughal Road) and ASI Zulfiqar Ahmed (SO-T Surankote) was directed to be stopped for a period of three years.
Advocate S S Ahmed further submitted that the court vide its order dated July 16, 2019 had formulated nine core questions to be answered by the Govt of J&K and IGP(Traffic) on February 10,2020 filed a comprehensive affidavit which merits examination by the Division Bench. The DB headed by Chief Justice (Acting) perused the said affidavit and orally remarked that each issue needs to be addressed independently.
AAG Aseem Sawhney appearing for the Govt of J&K along with Chief Engineer Mughal Road Projects (through virtual mode) submitted that the main prayer of the petitioner regarding blacktopping of the Mughal Road from Chatta Pani to Peer Ki Gali has been redressed as the said area has been blacktopped and rest of the area will be covered during the next financial year. AAG Aseem Sawhney further submitted that the writ petition in view of this development may be closed.
While rebutting the submissions of AAG Aseem Sawhney, Advocate S S Ahmed submitted that the issues raised in this writ petition are with regard to ‘Dance of Death’ on J&K roads because of inefficiency and non-regulation of traffic. Advocate Ahmed strenuously argued that on several occasions traffic cops were caught on-camera accepting money from the drivers and after some time, the said erring cops are reinstated with all service benefits as the collection amount is allegedly shared from top to bottom.
Looking into the seriousness of the matter and nature of issues regarding traffic management raised in instant PIL, the Division Bench expressed its deep concern over the lack of system of training the drivers or taking their appropriate test while issuing the driving licences and issued directions to the Govt of J&K to place before the court as to whether there is any plan to construct a Traffic Park in Jammu and Kashmir so that proper driving test is taken while issuing the driving licenses and further the school students are also educated to obey the Traffic Rules.