21 September, 2020

S.M. Ali, Oil MNC Consultant, Drills Sense Into Road Hogs

S.M. Ali, Oil MNC Consultant, Drills Sense Into Road Hogs
WHEN Syed Maqbool Ali first took the message of road safety to the city streets, people thought he had nothing better to do. One associate even quipped, "either he must have lost his job or he wants to become a neta". The young engineer was home for a vacation from Singapore where he worked as a consultant for an offshore oil drilling company, Atwood Oceanics Pacific Ltd. It was at that time that Ali lost his mentor, Dr Shankar Mishra, a maths professor at Utkal University, to a road accident. He was riding pillion on a scooter when he fell and hit his head. He died on the spot.

The incident brought home forcibly to Ali that carelessness and lack of awareness leads to heavy loss of life on roads. "On an average 65,000 people die and five lakh are injured due to road accidents in India every year," says Ali. In Orissa, official figures peg deaths from road accidents at 988, but this is a 1997 statistic.

Ali decided to do something about it. In 1982, together with a group of young professionals, he started the Prevention of Accidents Society of Orissa or...



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