NISCHA decides stop providing information on accidents

NISCHA held a press conference at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Monday on on ‘confusing stats of road accidents’Shuvra Kanti Das

The Nirapad Sarak Chai (NISCHA) has decided to stop providing any further road accident-related information from now on. It cited the inconsistency in the information provided by the two ministries, private agencies and police regarding road accidents as the main reason behind this. They say it creates confusion among people.

The NISCHA made the announcement at a press conference on ‘confusing stats of road accidents’ in the capital’s National Press Club Monday. Apart from explaining the decision, it also made some proposals at the briefing.

Referring to the reasons behind the decision to stop circulating accident-related statistics, NISCHA officials said that the Bangladesh Road Transport Authorities (BRTA) always claims the information provided by other relevant agencies ‘unacceptable’ as well as has taken initiative to catch the actual scenarios on the roads.

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NISCHA chairman Ilias Kanchan read out a written statement. He said the information they have doesn’t match with anyone’s. There are inconsistencies in the information provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), government, police and media reports. The entire nation is being bewildered by this. Various quarters in the government firmly refute the information from WHO or other relevant agencies saying it’s unacceptable.

Ilias Kanchan further said they also discussed the issue at the top level of the government. As the government has taken up an initiative to find out the real situation on the roads through the BRTA, the NISCHA won’t publish any information in this regard.

However, NISCHA will keep working on its own research, Ilias Kanchan said, adding that they hope that they will be able to pull off the work properly together if they get assistance and financial allocation from the government.

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In his written statement, the NISCHA chairman said the WHO published accident related figures and information from across the world. The WHO ‘Global Status Report on Road Safety 2023’ states some 21,316 people were killed in road accidents in Bangladesh in 2015. However, the police records say the road accident-related casualties were 2,376 that year.

Similarly, the WHO report of 2018 cited some 24,944 casualties on roads in Bangladesh, but the number was 2,635 as per the police report.

WHO figures show that the casualty rate on the roads in every 100,000 people was 15.3 per cent in 2016 and around 19 in 2021.

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According to the figures of the BRTA, as many as 5,024 people were killed in a total of 5,495 incidents of road mishaps across the country in 2023. However, the police report says a total of 4,475 people lost their lives in road accidents last year, which is quite lower than the figures provided by other agencies.

Ilias Kanchan further said WHO collects information directly from the health directorate of Bangladesh. So the question remains as to how could the accident-related information from the health directorate differ from the figures of the Roads and Highways Department.

NISCHA expects the health, road and bridges and home ministry will make an integrated effort together to provide the actual information and figures regarding road accidents and subsequent casualties to avoid any confusion.

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