19-25 December 2014 #737

Let’s all walk

CA member Gagan Thapa’s Facebook post on the spate of recent road fatalities, 12 December

When I reached the Neuro Hospital to check on CA member Hari Bahadur Khadka, who had been in a highway accident on 3 December, the air was tense with anxiety. Family members were worried about his condition and the slow rescue had angered many.

Upendra Devkota, the neurosurgeon treating him, said, “We have done all we can but his condition isn’t stable.” Four days later, Hari Dai died. On 8 December Hari Dai’s body was taken to Baglung for his last rites. I was planning to attend his funeral, when I got a call informing me about my sister Nisha Basnet’s accident. I was hoping it was a minor mishap. But when I saw her in the Emergency Room, I was shocked. Nisha’s lower body was crushed and her internal organs lay scattered on the bed.

Our hopes were raised when the doctors said they’d operate on her. Six hours later, I was called into the ICU. When I saw her on CPR, I knew all we could do was pray. At 10 the next morning, the doctors informed us that Nisha was no more.

I began to think what Hari Dai’s family must be going through, pondering on the list of what ifs that must be running through their minds: What if the road had been better?  What if he had been operated on sooner? What if there was a trauma center in Dhaulagiri? I knew my uncle and aunt, Nisha’s parents were also asking similar questions.

When an accident occurs on a mountain road, we find fault with the road. But the roads in Kathmandu are fine. When it happens outside the valley we blame the drivers and police.

More than 1000 people have lost their lives and 6000 have been injured in road accidents in the past few months alone.

It’s not just the roads, drivers, police or authorities who are to be blamed. We are the ones at fault. The truth is we don’t have the ability to drive on roads yet. We are not prepared to drive a car or fly a plane, although we have constructed roads and airports for them.

Maybe we should stop using cars and planes until we are prepared for this technology. Let’s start walking again. Let us go back to the time when there were no road accidents. Let’s stop and think how we can improve our ability to ride and fly safely before doing so again On Wednesday, while Nisha’s last rites were being performed, the bodies of a young couple who died in an accident in Sisneri were burning on the pyre next to her.

odies of those killed on our roads are being cremated everywhere.