Govt couldn’t do much for flood victims: Altaf

Calls for specialized facilities to treat accident victims
4-day road safety workshop ends at KU
Govt couldn’t do much for flood victims: Altaf

Irfan Rashid

Srinagar, Aug 29:

Ahead of the first anniversary of the devastating floods that hit Kashmir last year, Minister for R&B, Syed Muhammad Altaf Bukhari Saturday admitted the failure of the government to ensure proper rehabilitation of the victims.
“The Central government did not help much and neither could the state government do much for the flood victims,” Bukhari said.
Without elaborating on the comment, he said the state government is working on the flood relief package. However, he added that “no government can provide 100 percent compensation”.
He was addressing a felicitation function of the event “Drive Ok- Live Ok” organized by EMMRC and ILM consultancy at Kashmir University.
Referring to the lack of mechanism to bring road accident victims to the trauma centers carefully, the Minister said the government has left road accidents “in the name of God”.
“I saw in West how critical ambulances are equipped and able to treat 70 percent injury on the spot only. Here we may have trauma hospitals coming up at Pattan and Anantnag but we need to put efforts for on-the-spot treatment. For that we need to train those ambulance paramedics and more importantly those ambulance drivers,” Bukhari said.
“It would have been better if we had smaller hospitals with better treatment facilities rather than big empty buildings,” the R&B Minister said, adding that he wished he could be the health minister of the state so that he could help improve health institutions faster.
Bukhari said government was not able to spend on health sector as it should have “as 76 percent of the state exchequer is spent on power and salaries only”.
He said the roads are no better than what they were 37 years back. “It’s only now that government is taking steps in this regard.”
He said the traffic police department is overburdened. “We will infuse life by extending public transport timing from 7 pm, when they usually go off the roads, to 10 pm with free bus service in Srinagar city very soon.”
Appreciating the initiative, the Minister said road accidents are rising to an alarming level in Jammu and Kashmir. As per the available data, he revealed, 892 people have died and 8733 injured in 6067 road accidents in Kashmir Valley during past three years.
He said the rate of accidental deaths per thousand vehicles in the state is 1.1% against all India average of 0.9%. Urging youth to ride and drive carefully, Bukhari said: “Let’s change how we walk on road…let’s change how we drive on road.”
Stating that the central government has approved Srinagar-Uri and Srinagar-Kupwara roads for four-laning. “The four-laning of National Highway is one of the important issues right now on our mind and we are progressing on it,” he added.
He said Parimpora-Narval patch will be opened by October and Narbal-Kaman Post stretch will be completed within three-and-a-half years.
Earlier, Director EMMRC, Kashmir University, Dr Shahid Rasool said, “We don’t take accidents seriously which is the 9th highest death factor in the world and second highest factor in youth.”
“We have laws but not law enforcement agencies,” he added.
Dr Rasool suggested a blueprint wherein points will be cut off from a driver with his every challan and finally with more mistakes driver’s license be cancelled as is being done in gulf countries.
Sharing his experience, Head of Neurosurgery at SKIMS, Dr Altaf Ramzan said prevention is the best treatment. “I sometimes think it was better for a person to die if he has to live with spinal disability after an accident,” he said.
Dr Ramzan criticized government for “making laws for animals and not for humans”.
He said first-aid should be given to trauma patients on the spot. “And trauma centers should have surgeon, orthopedic, small ICU unit, paramedics and not just empty structures.”
Earlier, a documentary film, YE BEHASI, was screened showing how Kashmiris are losing their dear ones in road accidents. Later two characters from the documentary shared their experiences with the audience. The R&B Minister assured Sumeera Rehman, who lost her father in an accident, of every possible help.
Rising Kashmir was the media partner of the workshop.  On the first-day of the workshop, teachers and students were engaged in different sessions. On second day, commercial drivers were given training. On the third day, a drawing competition was held with the participation of students from Amira Kadal and Kothi Bagh Girls Higher Secondary School.
Insha Yaqoob (Amira Kadal GHSS), Farheen Fayaz (Amira Kadal GHSS) and Nighat Jeelani( Kothi Bagh GHSS) were declared as first, second and third prize winners of the competition respectively.


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