GUWAHATI, May 23: On the occasion of UN Global Road Safety Week (May 15 to 21), the student community appealed the state Transport minister Parimal Suklabaidya for ‘Safer Roads for School Children’ so that they can cycle, and walk safely to their schools. More than 400 students signed a memorandum and demanded to ensure the safety of children on roads near schools in Guwahati.
Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum, Assam (CLPF), in association with Consumer Voice, New Delhi & Seuj Asom took this initiative and submitted the memorandum to Transport minister Parimal Suklabaidya.
A rally involving participation of over 400 students from TC Govt Girls HS & MP School & Satgaon High School of Guwahati was also taken out as a part of observing the UN Global Road Safety Week. The students displayed placards with slogans such as, ‘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’, ‘Prioritise Child Safety’.
In the memorandum submitted to the state Transport minister, the student community said, “The 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. 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. 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.”
Advocate Ajoy Hazarika, secretary, Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum, Assam demanded to install well-placed speed breakers on roads to control vehicle speeds near schools, and to construct well-maintained sidewalks and clearly marked zebra crossings to facilitate safe pedestrian movement and provide children with designated areas for crossing the road near school, install traffic signals 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.