Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari called for efforts by key stakeholders such as engineering institutes, corporates and NGOs to reduce road accidents in India by 50% by 2025.
Terming the situation ‘alarming’ Gadkari said that India witnesses the maximum number of road accidents surpassing countries like USA and China.
According to the official data, around 1.5 people die and more than 4.5 lakh people are injured in road accidents in India every year. Out of this, more than two-third of the deaths are in the age group of 18 to 45.
Stating road accidents as ‘much serious than COVID-19 pandemic’, Gadkari said that 415 deaths per day due to road accidents, India’s losses amount to 3.14 per cent of the GDP.
“There are 415 deaths per day in road accidents in India. I would say this scenario is very much serious than COVID-19 pandemic and it is becoming an alarming situation for us year on year. Unfortunately we stand at position 1 in the road accidents in the world, ahead of US and China. Being transport minister, I am sensible and serious for the subject” Gadkari said.
He was speaking after inaugurating a webinar series by road safety body IRF’s India chapter on ‘Road Safety Challenges in India and Preparation of an Action plan’.
Stating that road safety audit during different stages of development appears to be the most suitable way to correct all deficiencies causing accidents, the minister said more than 40,000 kms of highways have been brought under auditing.
He lashed out at people responsible for faulty Detail Project Reports (DPR) and sought collaboration from the International Road Federation (IRF) and other bodies for vetting these in a fortnight’s time.
“Many of DPRs are in very bad shape with lots of technical deficiencies which create further black spots (accident spots). DPR should be proof-checked and revised by competent authorities, third-party agencies, and educational institutions before implementation,” He said
The government has proposed a State Support Programme to incentivise the states with Rs 14,000 crore funds, out of which Rs 7,000 crore would be from the Asian Development Bank and World Bank and the balance Rs 7,000 crore from the Centre to improve road safety, he said.