“It is the responsibility of every stakeholder to bring qualitative transformation if we are to achieve the Government’s vision of reducing the number of road accidents by half,” established Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) while addressing an assembly of corporates during an interactive session on road safety.
Speaking in a session organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in partnership with the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on the occasion of the Annual Road Safety Week 2017, Mr Gadkari said the Government is pulling out all stops to deal with the alarmingly high count of road accidents which have touched 5.01 lakh in 2015 – a rise of 2.1 percent in a year.
Mr Gadkari’s claim was aptly captured in a presentation made by Shri Abhay Damle, Joint Secretary, MoRTH where he shared that the Government has lready identified around 800 blackspots across India and the Ministry has already released Rs 500 crores to rectify them.
Shri Sanjay Mitra, Secretary, MoRTH said the Ministry has proposed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2016 which has strict provisions for road safety. In his words, “the Ministry has mooted a whole set of legal amendments which gives teeth to law enforcements and RTOs (to compel violators and law breakers to abide by traffic rules).”
The session created an opportunity for the Ministry to reach out to a large cross-section of India Inc. to share its expectations from the industry. Some of them are: take steps to avoid losses from employment accidents, goods transit accidents, specific projects for R&D, local junction improvements, losses/congestion due to office timings, commitment not to overload, use vehicles with valid fitness/permits. But above all, the Ministry expects innovation and ideation for road safety from all corporates.
India Inc. reciprocated the Ministry’s feeling and honoured the Minister’s expectation by sharing their action plans which consisted of several new ideas along with the tried and tested ones.
While Hero Motocorp shared that it has created 40 films in association with the Ministry to be played out in schools and institutions to spread awareness about road safety, Mahindra revealed that it has taken up the Mumbai-Pune expressway for its Rs 22-crore intervention project which aims to remove fatalities completely by 2020. Currently fatal accident count on this stretch is around 130 per year.
General Motors said it believes that it is most important to “ first put one’s house in order.” And that is why it has decided to focus on effecting a change in the behavior and attitude of Indian drivers.
Eicher Motors is establishing 10 medical centers along a 475 km route on the treacherous Leh-Manali stretch. Maruti Suzuki is expanding its driving training programme with more than 400 schools across India with the aim to “train the trainers”.
This fruitful exchange of ideas and sentiments that transpired between the Ministry and India Inc.revealed a like-mindedness which was mirrored by Mr Raghupati Singhania, Co-Chairman, CII Public Policy Council, in his opening remarks when he said, “In order to achieve this, a serious commitment and commendable effort is required. And this cannot be done by the Government alone, nor can it be expected. Road accidents touch every single life, and therefore, it is the duty of every single one of us to work towards improving the conditions of road safety and support the Government in achieving its goal.”