Mumbai

We ignore lives lost in accidents: Gavaskar

Batting for a cause: Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar at the launch of the Road Safety World Series in Mumbai on Thursday.

Batting for a cause: Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar at the launch of the Road Safety World Series in Mumbai on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

Road Safety World Series will see legends from five national teams return to the field

Sunil Gavaskar, who is a globetrotter with media assignments taking him to international cricket matches featuring India’s national team, is a true-blue Mumbaikar. Though he has now made London his second home, Mr. Gavaskar has spent most of his life in Tardeo, Dadar and Worli, and is used to the chaotic traffic in the city.

Known for making candid observations on match situations and players, the former India captain, on Thursday, used the launch of the Road Safety World Series as an opportunity to make a blatant remark about Indians’ indifference towards road accidents and their victims.

Mr. Gavaskar appeared quite concerned about the deaths caused on the roads and said, “In India we tend to ignore how many lives are lost and how many families are traumatised by these accidents. If only we showed a little bit of discipline, we would be able to curb it. This is an important aspect, and I believe Ravi Gaikwad [RTO Chief of Thane, Konkan Range, and senior member of road safety cell, Maharashtra] alone in his capacity can do so.”

Mr. Gavaskar is the tournament commissioner for the series, which will feature legends and retired cricketers from five national teams — Australia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies and India. The Twenty20 tournament will be played in the city and Pune next February.

“It’s a tremendous initiative. We planned this last year itself, when we had the no-horn initiative. But I think this is a better initiative as it’s something I have felt deeply concerned about because we lose so many lives,” he said.

Mr. Gavaskar said the authorities must take a serious look at issuing driving licences. “Many years ago, in my own case after returning from the West Indies, I got a car and was struggling to reverse properly. But the driving instructor said — doesn’t matter, you drive straight and I will give you the licence,” he said.

‘Like an AK-47’

“Don’t forget, with the kind of cars that exist in India now, and the speeds they can go up to, when you give a licence to someone who cannot read signs, you are actually giving an AK-47 in his hands to mow down people,” Mr. Gavaskar said.

The champion batsman pointed fingers at ‘professionals’ for the cause of accidents and deaths. “By professionals I mean truck and bus drivers. They are the ones behind most accidents. Unless you have a zero tolerance policy, these incidents will occur. I have seen trucks coming into the wrong lane on highways and expressways. This is a serious issue,” he said.

Sachin Tendulkar, the brand ambassador of the Road Safety World Series, said, “Road safety is a concerning issue. Almost two lakh lives are lost because of road accidents every year and every four minutes, one life is lost. We cannot afford to lose so many lives. And this is happening only because many people are not disciplined and do not follow traffic rules.”

The master blaster, who will also be padding up for the tournament, said he has seen bikers riding without helmets and also driving on the wrong side. “It is not acceptable. These are issues concerning for us as a nation. I have seen this not only in Mumbai, but also all over the country,” he said.

Mr. Tendulkar said, “People in India love cricket and we are blessed to be playing the sport. The love and affection showered by one and all towards cricket and cricketers is too fulfilling to express in words. I have been regularly talking about the importance of following traffic rules and driving safely, and the platform of Road Safety World Series feels like a full circle.”

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 7:47:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/we-ignore-lives-lost-in-accidents-gavaskar/article29729389.ece

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