Chandigarh: The tragic deaths of satirist Jaspal Bhatti and scribe Amrita Chaudhary in road accidents within a span of three days have brought to the fore the challenge being faced by the Punjab government as around 3,000 lives are lost every year in the state on roads.

According to a report, Punjab's roads account for more deaths than any other single cause.

As per a survey of 2011, the state witnessed 18 accidents and 9 deaths in a day due to road accidents. On an average, 16 people are injured everyday across Punjab in road accidents.

"More people have lost their lives in Punjab on roads than during the dark days of terrorism," said Punjab Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira.

Punjab Police say drunk driving causes most of these fatal accidents in the state. Other factors that lead to the mishaps included over-speeding, stray animals, encroachments, sloppy traffic administration, poor roads, lack of traffic rules adherence, little or no legal restraint, corruption among traffic cops, pedestrians and a mortal jumble of slow and fast-moving traffic, lack of prompt medical help.

Unfortunately, road accidents cause a huge loss to the state's contribution to gross domestic product. Even more terrifying is the fact that road casualties in Punjab have been rising alarmingly every year, sources said.

Four-laning of major roads and highways is not the solution to this problem. Till the time all roads of the state, big and small, are repaired and maintained, the problem will persists, sources said.

A sizable number of fatalities due to road accidents can be avoided with better road safety management and availability of immediate medical help, official sources said.

Comedian and film actor Jaspal Bhatti died in a road accident near Jalandhar early on Thursday.

While Amrita Chaudhry, a Ludhiana-based journalist of Indian Express was killed on Monday in an accident.

(Agencies)

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