The Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Nitin Gadkari has expressed confidence on halving road accident deaths from about 150,000 per annum by 2025 as against the target of 2030.
Speaking at a webinar on road safety on Tuesday, Gadkari said that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) working in a fast-track mode to achieve the goal with the cooperation of all stakeholders especially the state governments.
Gadkari informed that his ministry had taken lot of initiatives to reduce road accidents including intelligent transport system in the country. He added that multilateral lending agencies like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) were providing Rs 70 billion each for this purpose to remove black spots from national highways. India had already spent Rs 200 billion on removing the black spots. Underling the urgency in this regard, Gadkari informed that of the total road accident deaths annually, about 53,000 occurred on highways. He also said that the state of Tamil Nadu had reduced accident-related fatalities by 25 per cent by implementing a project with World Bank's assistance.
Recognising the important role of various stake-holders, he said cooperation of particularly universities, educational institutions, NGOs, state governments, etc., was required. The minister informed that the Central Government had formulated a big role for them to play in reducing accidents.
Gadkari called upon members of parliament chairing District Road Committees, to identify the black spots and to pursue their redressal. He highlighted that black spots needed to be identified on state and municipal roads.
He also called for public movement by social awareness and education, improving emergency services, pressing for medical facilities, etc., in the country. He also sought cooperation of the automobile industry in achieving road safety targets. He referred to the Motor Vehicle Act, 2019, which is a comprehensive legislation on all aspects of the transport sector in India.
Delving on the challenges arising due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he stressed on the need for building intelligent road transport infrastructure in the country on public-private partnership (PPP) mode. Gadkari informed that he was issuing directions for formulating policy and tendering models for developing intelligent transport system at municipal, provincial and national level through the PPP mode. For this purpose, he invited suggestions by all stakeholders so that a system based on global best practices could be adopted.