Students demand safe roads near Guwahati schools, submit memo to minister

GUWAHATI: More than 400 students submitted a memorandum to Assam transport minister Parimal Suklabaidya demanding stricter driving rules to make roads safer near schools in Guwahati.

Reckless driving has triggered many road mishaps in Guwahati, which is getting more congested by the day, and many students too have either lost their lives or have been injured in the absence of proper road safety measures and regulations.

Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum, Assam (CLPF) in association with Consumer Voice, New Delhi and Seuj Asom took the initiative to encourage students to sign the memorandum with an appeal to the transport department to make roads for school children safe to walk and cycle to and from the schools.

“Heavy traffic congestion around schools during peak hours poses a significant risk to the safety of children. The presence of multiple vehicles, including private cars, school buses, and two-wheelers, increases the likelihood of accidents and pedestrian collisions,” the memorandum to the transport minister read.

“Many roads near schools in Guwahati lack proper sidewalks and zebra crossings, forcing children to walk on the main road. This exposes them to the danger of oncoming vehicles, making it crucial to address this infrastructure deficiency. The prevalence of vehicles exceeding speed limits near schools poses a grave threat to the safety of children,” the memorandum read.

“Speeding vehicles make it challenging for children to gauge the distance and time required to safely cross the road, increasing the risk of accidents. Insufficient deployment of traffic wardens or crossing guards to assist children in crossing busy roads near schools contributes to their vulnerability. The presence of trained personnel can significantly reduce accidents and ensure safer road crossings for children,” the students urged in the memorandum to the minister.

A rally involving the participation of over 400 students from T.C. Govt. Girl’s H.S. and M.P. School and Satgaon High School were also taken out as a part of the observation of the UN Global Road Safety Week.

The students displayed placards with slogans ‘Slow down near Schools’, Your Speed Matters, Slow Down for School Zones’, Protect Our Future: Slow down for our Kids’, ‘Drive Responsibly, Slow down near Schools’, ‘Let’s make roads safer for our children’ and ‘Priortise Child Safety’.

Advocate Ajoy Hazarika, who is the secretary, Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum, Assam, demanded the construction of speed breakers in strategic parts of the roads to control vehicle speed near schools.

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Hazarika said that the construction of well-maintained sidewalks and clearly-marked zebra crossings would facilitate safe pedestrian movement and provide children with designated areas for crossing the road near schools.

“Traffic signals need to be installed near schools to regulate the flow of vehicles and provide designated intervals for pedestrians to cross the road safely, ensure proper signage and visibility of signals for both drivers and pedestrians and increase police patrolling in areas surrounding schools during peak hours,” he said.

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