Bhubaneswar: February 10: With the Road Safety awareness as the central theme of 78th Patha Utsav, the most popular street festival of the Temple City, the entire 1.5 km stretch of Janpath between Master Centreen and Ram Mandir Square turned into a mini awareness creating hub as all participating institutions remained focus on making the visitors aware on the road safety issues.
As a symbolic gesture and following the mythological route God of death Yamraj, his guards and his registrar of death Chitragupta, all in heavenly attire by professional artists were engaged by the Transport Department to carry out the dissemination of the awareness in style and in effective way. Just like the mount of Yamraj is a bison, a bike was made dressed up as a bison and Yamraj gave poses with kids who were holding slogans propagating road safety awareness.
While veteran actor Kuna Tripathy called for exemplary punishments for the violators of the road safety rules, he made an emotional appeal to the young crowd and advised that when parents or the kin need the support of a young person, he/she should not meet the end and be a burden on the elders.
Local MP Prasanna Patsani blamed the use of mobile phones by youngsters while driving causing road safety violations. Saying that the Patha Utsav has become an effective ground for many good things like the concept of non-motorised transport and lifestyle modifications for better and safer life, the eminent poet through the recital of his inspiring verses asked the young adults not to become victims so that the Yamraj would easily take them out with him.
Transport Commissioner Sanjeeb Panda in his speech tried to harp on the concept of MORASH meaning no to Mobile, no to Over-speeding, Respect to others, no to Alcohol,no to Speed and yes to Helmet, so that collectively the society can manage to restore valuable lives. He informed that in Odisha roads in a year 5,300 people are dying due to road accidents only.
He also mentioned the Good Samaritan Policy of the State Government, through which any one, who brings accident victims to hospitals (both government and private) would get Rs 2,000 as a reward for saving the lives.
Not only the cash incentive, but the person can also receive compensation for the expenses he/she had done while transporting the accident policy to the hospitals. He also assured that the concerned police of nearby police station would never harass the person, who rescues the accident victims. Police would also not lodge any case against the rescuer of a road accident victim.
These benefits would be available at the nearby Road Transport Office (RTO) and for availing such benefits a person has to get a certificate from the doctor concerned, declaring the injured person was helped by him/her.
Two computer science professors, who are in a mission to cover 777 km in 7 days across the state to spread awareness on road safety, ended the ride at Pathostav Bhubaneswar on today. Gopal Krushna Sahu (40) and Kumar Devadutta (40) embarked on their cycle expedition from Bhubaneswar Cycling and Adventure Club.
Special attraction at today’s Patha Utsav was a storytelling session by the famous Australian author of books for children and young adults at the Bakul Library on Janpath, which started at 8.30AM. This was followed by an interaction with her. The Australian author-cum storyteller attracted a huge crowd of young boys and girls as they listened to her stories with apt attention and participation. Sujit Mohapatra from Bakul Foundation coordinated the session.
Member Enforcement Bhubaneswar Developoment Authority, Bhabani Shankar Chayani, who is also the Nodal Officer for Patha Utsav, said “events like art, Rangoli, road side drama and plays, storytelling, quiz, cycling and drawing competition all carried an interesting format of awareness generation.’’
Regional Transport Officer (RTO), Bhubanewar –II SK Behera said that the Road Safety Awareness has become an absolute necessity as according to 2017 data every 1.5 minutes there is a major accident and every 3.3 minute one person dies due to road mishap. While on a single day 410 persons died across India due to road mishaps in India, in Odisha it was 12 per day during 2017.
Members of Jagannath Helpline also organized their awareness campaign as they are doing help to the accident victims at various health-care delivery centres. “We have a core team of 100 volunteers and more than 200 are there as our team who can reach out immediately,’’ said Rankanidhi Samal, one of the founding members.