Bhubaneswar: With the Road Safety awareness as the central theme of 78th Patha Utsav, the most popular street festival of the Temple City, the entire 1.5 km stretch of Janpath between Master Canteen and Ram Mandir Square turned into a mini awareness creating hub as all participating institutions remained focus on making the visitors aware on the road safety issues.
As a symbolic gesture and following the mythological route God of death Yamraj, his guards and his registrar of death Chitragupta, all in heavenly attire by professional artists were engaged by the Transport Department to carry out the dissemination of the awareness in style and in effective way. Just like the mount of Yamraj is a bison, a bike was made dressed up as a bison and Yamraj gave poses with kids who were holding slogans propagating road safety awareness.
While veteran actor Kuna Tripathy called for exemplary punishments for the violators of the road safety rules, he made an emotional appeal to the young crowd and advised that when parents or the kin need the support of a young person, he/she should not meet the end and be a burden on the elders.
Local MP Prasanna Patsani blamed the use of mobile phones by youngsters while driving causing road safety violations. Saying that the Patha Utsav has become an effective ground for many good things like the concept of non-motorised transport and lifestyle modifications for better and safer life, the eminent poet through the recital of his inspiring verses asked the young adults not to become victims so that the Yamraj would easily take them out with him.
Transport Commissioner Sanjeeb Panda in his speech tried to harp on the concept of MORASH meaning no to Mobile, no to Over-speeding, Respect to others, no to Alcohol,no to Speed and yes to Helmet, so that collectively the society can manage to restore valuable lives. He informed that in Odisha roads in a year 5,300 people are dying due to road accidents only.
He also mentioned the Good Samaritan Policy of the State Government, through which any one, who brings accident victims to hospitals (both government and private) would get Rs 2,000 as a reward for saving the lives.