The Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari participated at the Road Safety Stakeholders' Meet, which marks the 31st National Road Safety Week 2020 today in New Delhi, and addressed various aspects of road safety in India.
Speaking during the event, Gadkari detailed that his ministry is preparing the list of officials responsible for inaction with respect to road safety. He said that officers who have been sitting on files for years and not allowing others to take decisions either will not be retained in service. According to him, “Such incompetent officers will be removed from the services.”
The government is in the process of reducing the number of ‘blind spots’ from Indian roads with about Rs 14,000 crore assistance from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB). He recalled how as a Minister in the Maharashtra Government, he asked for re-engineering of Jaisinghpur bypass along the Pune-Kolhapur highway where 5-6 people died every month due to a blind spot.
Road accidents in India claimed 415 lives, injured 1,286 people each day in 2018
Gadkari pointed out that the rising rate of fatalities due to road accidents, despite efforts by industry stakeholders to disseminate safety-related information and create awareness, is worrying.
According to Gadkari, “Though the Ministry targeted bringing down the number of death by as much as 30 percent, it has increased by 4 percent. What is worst is that about 65 percent deaths occur in the younger age group of 18-35 years which is a cause of concern for the stakeholders.” He applauded the Tamil Nadu government and police machinery for bringing down the casualties by around 30 percent.”
In a move to enhance road safety, the Road Transport & Highways Ministry is setting up 22 motor driving centres and plans to scale it up in future. Gadkari pointed out, “There is a need for around 1,000 such driving centres on an urgent basis.”
The need for appropriate and urgent trauma care is also important in case of road accidents. To this end, Gadkari said that, “Tata Trust has approached along with a German NGO for setting up infrastructure to help the road accident victims with the help of helicopters. Also, in case when it is not possible to save the life, the vital organs of such victims can be donated to the needy.”
The Road Transport & Highways Ministry has introduced the new Motor Vehicle Act which mandates heavy fines for those accused of traffic related offences. However, it’s stuck in the implementation stage, as many states consider the fines to be very hefty.
Also read: International Road Federation and FICCI to host conference on trauma care on January 15
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