In an extraordinary demonstration of balancing conflicting objectives, Assam's Excise, Transport, and Fisheries Minister, Parimal Suklabaidya, is embarking on a mission to reconcile his dual roles. On one hand, Suklabaidya aims to bolster the state's revenue through liquor sales, a sector that brought in ₹22.05 crore during the three-day Durga Puja celebration in Guwahati alone. On the other hand, he is the key figure in a campaign against drunk driving, a leading cause of road fatalities in Assam.
A Confluence of Aims
This duality presents a unique challenge. Suklabaidya acknowledges the health risks and fatal consequences associated with excessive drinking and reckless driving. To raise public awareness, he has initiated a 30-day motorcycle tour across Assam, aimed at promoting safe driving practices. This expedition was triggered by a disconcerting study from the Transport Department, showing that road accidents result in approximately 2,900 deaths in the state each year.
Path Suraksha Jan Andolan: A Mass Movement for Road Safety
Suklabaidya launched the campaign, 'Path Suraksha Jan Andolan', on the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. The campaign aims to reach every corner of Assam, covering all 126 Assembly constituencies, and foster a mass movement for road safety. Riding a Royal Enfield, the minister is leading by example, demonstrating a commitment to the cause that goes beyond his official duties.
An Initiative of Life Preservation, Not Political Gain
While some might perceive the minister's campaign as politically motivated, particularly with the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha election, Suklabaidya refutes such notions. He emphasizes that the initiative is not about vote-seeking but about life preservation. He underscores the need for awareness and discipline among drivers, maintaining that these are the key elements to reducing accident rates and saving lives.