Mumbai ranked fifth from fifty cities in India with population a more than a million, that witnessed the most number of road accidents. This is according to the data released by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Mumbai, with 2,772 accidents in the year 2016, came right after Chennai, Delhi, Indore and Bangalore. Mumbai also ranked fifth among 50 cities that recorded highest number of injuries to commuters per 100 accidents. In the previous year as well, the city had fared amongst the worst in road and transportation safety. The ministers and officials had appealed to people to take this issue more seriously.
After looking at the sad state of affairs, the government made road safety its first priority and launched various campaigns for the same. The negligence on part of the citizens was addressed through NGOs activities and government initiatives to increase awareness about traffic rules. One of the main contributors in the road mishaps in the city is the bad condition of the roads. A lot of deaths have been reported in the past two months, during monsoon, due to the number of potholes on the streets. The government initiated National Road Safety Week last year, where citizens were reminded of their responsibility to follow traffic rules and drive safely. The importance of carrying a license, not jumping a red light and generic rules that people tend to forget, were emphasised upon.
Over the years, apart from NGOs and the government, CSR spending in road safety and traffic has also increased, especially from the automobile sector. Companies such as Maruti Suzuki Ltd, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd and Tata Motors Ltd, had an approximate combined budget of Rs.112 allocated for corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities for 2014-15, of which 18% (Rs.21 crore) was set aside for road safety initiatives. Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd had initiated an attempt to achieve zero fatality on the expressway by 2017. Heromoto Corp, Mercedes Benz, Renault are among others who invest in road safety as CSR, encouraging the subject as a public health issue.
Investment in road safety has increased over the past five years, and the ranking of Mumbai has stayed the same, if not worse. Corporates tend to one side of the problem, which is spreading awareness among citizens. However, someone aware of the traffic rules will still be helpless on a bad road. Mumbai has the highest car density in India, which makes it even more prone to road accidents. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had accepted the holes in its functioning, after the previous year’s report urged people to be careful. But a year later, the results are the same. Therefore, the government needs to step up and provide better quality highways and roads to the citizens.
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The CSR Journal Team