TODAY -

Editorial of the week

Criminal negligence
Courtesy: The Sangai Express 19th January , 2008



That this can happen in the 21st century is unthinkable, but then in Manipur anything can happen in the backdrop of a Government which is there only in name !

How else can one explain or give excuses for a bridge to collapse under the weight of a truck carrying charcoal and passengers, even though it may be a wooden bridge ?

The ill fated truck at the river bed and the rickety bridge which gave way leading to the mishap over Ngasuan stream near S Sehken village


The death of 23 passengers and the injuries caused to many others when the planks of the wooden bridge gave way under the weight of a truck at Behiang, in Churachandpur district is a shame and a tragedy that should not have happened if only the Government agencies had dispensed with their duties diligently.

As reports have come in, the bridge was completed in the latter part of 2007 and to think that a bridge which was completed just some time back should give way thus, is a damning reflection of how far the Government is concerned about the safety of the people.

True, the bridge was located in the interior parts of the State, near the Myanmar border, but safety norms for the people cannot be compromised because of geographical locations.

Apart from paying adequate compensations to the next of kins of the deceased as well as the injured, the Government should crack the whip and penalise the person/s/agency responsible for constructing the bridge as well as those responsible for giving the go ahead signal to open the bridge to traffic.

This is the 21st century and while other parts of the country are talking about four lane and even six lane highways, the people of Manipur have to cope with rickety bridges and risk their lives, just because we have a Government which cares a damn about the safety and security of its citizens.

Heads should roll. Responsibilities should be fixed and there should be no attempt to cover up any shortcomings.

That 23 people had to lose their lives because the Government failed to ensure that a bridge is safe to be opened to traffic is nauseating and in many ways, it is a reflection of how accountability and responsibility have been by passed by successive Governments down the years.

Road mishaps and accidents continue to take a heavy toll on the lives of the people and while we do agree that reckless driving as well as refusal to stick to traffic norms and regulations is one important factor for the rising cases of road accidents, it also stands true that accidents occur so often, because of the laxity on the part of the Government agencies.

Even in Imphal road accidents have occurred because the authority concerned did not bother to put up proper signals or reflectors especially at night.

With street lights being a luxury, it becomes all that harder to drive in the night and this gets compounded whenever any portion of the road is blocked and the road is diverted.

We cite these instances to show how insensitive the Government has become to the safety and security of its citizens.

We are more than sure that the accident at Behiang in Churachandpur district could have been avoided if only proper care had been taken up.

For the moment, pull up all those responsible and penalise them for compromising with the lives and safety of the people.



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