Quetta: People’s Primary Healthcare Initiative (PPHI) and Medical Emergency Response Centers (MERC) Balochistan convened a consultation meeting to discuss causes of increased traffic accidents and measures to control and respond to the growing problem.
Secretary Transport Bashir Ahmed Bangulzai, DG Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Naseer Ahmed Nasir, DIG National Highway, and Motorway Police Ali Sher Jhakrani, SP Traffic Quetta Mohammed Javed, and renowned Journalist Saleem Shahid, Raza-Ur-Rehman, Rasheed Baloch, Adnan Aamir, social activist Najeeb Yousaf Zehri attended along with managers of PPHI and MERC.
Addressing the consultation, Secretary Transport Bashir Ahmed Bangulzai said that a large number of people in Balochistan are dying in road accidents due to lack of awareness and irresponsible driving. He said roads are in poor condition and are not improved with the need of time.
He added 316 coaches operate on Quetta-Karachi Route and Transport Department is planning to install trackers on these buses to control road accidents. He added that the transport department will establish an Academy in Balochistan to bring out trained drivers.
CEO PPHI Aziz Ahmad Jamali said that PPHI MERC is operational with 14 Centers on three Highway sections. Since October 2020, 9,475 Road Traffic incidents (RTA) have been reported on highways of Balochistan. Rescuers provided first aid to 11935 injured, Doctors attended 5,266 OPDs of needy people. He added that 102 people had lost their lives during the same period.
Jamali added that MERC is operational on 1500 Kilometers of highway length and people can call on 1122 for rescue on roads. He said we are facing financial constraints in the project but we have achieved 50 percent of the planned objectives. “PPHI-Balochistan will establish MERC Center on Quetta-Sukkur and DG Khan route in next phase,” He claimed.
Mr. Jamali appreciated the initiative of tracker installation in Buses and offered support to the Transport Department towards the prevention of accidents.
Ali Sher Jhakrani, DIG National Highways, and Motorway Police said Balochistan comprises 44 percent land area of Pakistan and the highway network of the province is 4,491 Km. Jhakrani said there is not a proper procedure or checking mechanism for driving licenses in Balochistan.
He further added Motorway Police is playing its part with limited resources. He added that Chaman-Quetta-Karachi highways is 800 Kilometer long but Motorway Police is operational on only 300 Kilometers. He added 70 percent of deaths in highway accidents are caused due to the collision of vehicles, which can only be avoided by dualizing the highways.
Adnan Aamir, the editor of Balochistan Voices, said it is imperative to share accurate figures about RTAs with the public. A large number of traffic accidents are not being reported in Balochistan. “Government will only be pressurized to act on the issue of highway accidents if it receives public pressure, which will only be possible if the data of highway accidents is available publicly,” He added.
SP Traffic Quetta said that the Balochistan Police has a system to report traffic accidents and other incidents properly. He added Traffic Police personal are present on roads for the safety of people. It is the responsibility of parents not to allow children to drive vehicles.
Social Activist Najeeb Yousaf Zehri said that the Balochistan Youth Civil Society is busy in the collection of traffic accident data in Balochistan. He added they have more than 100 volunteers for this purpose who collect pictures and other evidence regarding incidents. He said we face hurdles to get data from Hospitals and Police Stations.
Senior Journalist Saleem Shahid said that the nearest Police Station or Levies station is an authentic source for the collection of data about any incident. He added 44 people in Kalat, 22 in Lasbela and 17 people at Khanozai lost their lives in single incidents respectively. He said that the concerned department has initiated inquiries and made a report but not a single perpetrator got punishment. He added it is compulsory to implement laws strictly to decrease traffic accidents.
President Quetta Press Club Raza-ur-Rehman said that Government is not serious to tackle issues and had forgotten its electoral slogans. He said it is a need of time to ensure the implementation of the law to reduce the death toll in traffic accidents. It is the responsibility of the government to provide all equipment and medicine used in First aid to every hospital. He added transport department should install and use cameras to find out the causes of accidents.
After the conclusion of the consultation meeting, the participants of the meeting also visited the control center of MERC.
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