• Gadkari: Rs. 11,900 cr for making highways safer

    The Union Surface Ministry is planning to spend Rs. 11,900 crore for the removal of black spots (danger/accident-prone zones) on the National Highways by making the requisite changes in the road design, Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari has said.

    The minister was speaking at the inaugural of the two-day National Workshop on Road Safety 2016 which began here on Friday. He said it was a matter of serious concern that 1.5 lakh people were dying on Indian roads every year and the Centre with the cooperation of the States was committed to bringing down the road accident deaths. The total length of National Highways in India was 96,000 km and the plan was to increase it to 2 lakh km, but the focus would be on making them safer.

    Attributing 70 to 80 per cent of the road accidents to road engineering defects, he said 786 black spots were identified on the National Highways and funds would be allocated under the Pradhan Manthri Surakshit Sadak Yojana for making the necessary design changes. The rectification of the identified black spots would be done within two years.

    He said 30 per cent of the driving licences issued in the country were fake, and he urged the States to leverage technology to check corruption in the Transport Department. The other plans of the Centre include: allocation of Rs. 1 crore as grant for every district for the development of driving test tracks, driver training and vehicle fitness testing centres, launching of 1,000 emergency ambulances along the National Highways in the country for safe and timely shifting of accident victims to hospitals, road safety education to children and use of technology to minimise corruption in the Transport Department.

    Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who had inaugurated the workshop earlier, welcomed the idea of the Union Minister to establish an accident fund to repay the loans taken from banks to provide various road safety initiatives. He said that 700 black spots were identified on all roads in AP and the State Government would take all steps to address the problem and bring down the accident rate. Gale Sayers Womens Jersey

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