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Protecting Students

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Dehradun is rapidly becoming a preferred educational hub and its several universities are continuously improving their quality. These attract students from all parts of the country and even abroad. One of the reasons parents send their offspring to the city is the perception that it is peaceful, civilised and provides a safe environment. However, the USP is in great danger from the number of accidents – many fatal – that involve these students. Imagine living in Arunachal Pradesh and getting that dreaded call! This happened only a couple of days ago for one unfortunate family. Consider the impact the incident will have had on the people of that area and what they would think of sending youngsters here in the future.
It therefore makes economic sense also to take particular steps to deal with this developing problem. Just as universities and the law enforcement authorities work to prevent ragging, there should also be established a structure that ensures the safety of students while using the roads. Of the three ‘E’s that go into making roads safe – engineering, enforcement and education – the last two need special attention. It requires not only making the management of traffic generally safer, but development of protocols that keep students from adopting behaviour that endangers their lives.
While it is the job of the police to ensure there is no driving without helmets, or under the influence of alcohol, and no speeding by all citizens, it should be particularly ensured by various institutional bodies that students comply with these regulations. All those caught by the police indulging in such behaviour should be reported to their colleges and universities, as well as their parents. It should have repercussions in terms of continuing with their mostly expensive courses.
It is even more effective if the youngsters are regularly bombarded with information about the horrible consequences of what they might believe is just a bit of adventurous behaviour that might impress the girls. The police department is full of senior officials that don’t have many active responsibilities and their time should be utilised to prepare documentaries, literature and pamphlets that show the stark reality of death and hospitalisation. The art of safe driving also needs to be taught. The statistics should be presented and comparisons made with those in developed countries, displaying the vast gap that exists. As in the case of preventing drug addiction, a continuous campaign in this regard will ensure that, except for the absolutely stupid or psychologically flawed, most students will adopt practices that ensure they remain safe on the roads. And parents will continue to send their youngsters to study in Doon.