In Haryana, road safety is a subject that is of prime importance. According to data from 2011, the state had about 53,77,003 motor vehicles plying on the streets, while the number of licenses issued were far less than this number. The issue has attracted numerous problems across the state.
In many districts of Haryana corruption with regard to issuance of driving licenses, no-objection certificates, driving permits and other documents pertaining to the vehicles is emerging as the biggest menace to road traffic safety. In some urban centres such as Gurgaon, while the educated masses are growing more aware of their rights, the bulk of Haryana's rural population is still willing to shell out hefty bribes to acquire a driving license often without a proper test of the driver's skills. In areas where literacy is low, the problem is even more pronounced with the threat to road security higher.
Renewal of driving licenses and traffic violations are similarly mired in much corruption and bribery. Licensing offices are often surrounded by a number of pimps and middlemen who facilitate issuance and renewal of licenses on payment of a fee. Traffic violations, similarly, are dealt with lightly when a bribe is offered. This is a common and even expected practice in many parts of the state. Much of this arises from the failure of the state administration to rise above cumbersome bureaucratic practices and to introduce smart and efficient systems for the issuance of licenses. The apathetic attitude of the officials further worsens the situation and applicants often acknowledge that paying a bribe is a shortcut clearance to obtaining their requisite licenses.
The extent of this concern become clear when one looks up the number of lorries, trucks, and heavy vehicles that ply on the national and state highways of Haryana. By 2011, there were about 3,89,546 trucks and other goods vehicles plying in the state - second only to the number of private cars and tractors. Handing out heavy vehicles driving licenses solely on the basis of bribes increases the chances of accidents with these vehicles manifold. Loss of life, property, and chances of injury in case of heavy vehicles is much higher than in case of lighter vehicles.
The state administration's promise to streamline the licensing process by introduction of online applications, and smart e-licenses has come to naught. A few years ago there was a strong demand for cancellation of licenses when the drivers had been found violating traffic norms over three times. This is also almost never practiced in the state. Medical checks and eyesight tests before issuance of licenses are never practiced in the state's RT offices.
The safety and security of the people of Haryana should be the prime concern of the state administration. Road traffic accidents in the state of Haryana have remained unabated in the past decade. Faulty road construction, ineffectual signs, and poor traffic planning no matter what we blame, rash driving and handing out of driving licenses to the undeserving is a major cause for loss of life and injury to many. This is also one of the easily avoidable causes of accidents. Will the state administration step up and pay heed to this menace threatening Haryana roads? Will our state be rid of the twin evils of corruption and bribery?