Dharamshala: Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh underlined the need to strengthen emergency services and trauma care to save precious human lives which are lost in road accidents. He said that intelligent transport system was the need of hour and infrastructure investments should take it into account.
He was speaking in the Third Meeting of the Group of Minister’s on Road Safety and Ease of Transport organized at Dr. Rajendra Prasad Medical College and Hospital, Tanda in Kangra district on Sunday.
Singh said that State Government had given top priority to the road sector, however, this sector in hilly states involved several issues like high cost of construction and maintenance. “In the light of available infrastructure, the State had been continuously facing the issue of road safety and evolving a mechanism of reducing accidents,” he said.
He said, “the road safety affects all and more particularly the poor and the injuries place a heavy burden on the household finances of the victims and their families. To address the problems, effective steps including road design, engineering, driver behavior, training, skills, traffic management, emergency medical care, evacuation of victims, dedicated services like 108 needed to be taken care.”
Virbhadra Singh said there is a need to highlight National Accident Relief Policy and a fund should be created for road safety. He said that a road map should be formulated for the next decade with a view to reduce accidents by half by the year 2025. He also stressed upon use of more IT tools in traffic and road management along-with road safety audit.
He said, “1099 persons lost their lives in road accidents during 2014 and 1096 in 2015 whereas 5576 and 5108 people were injured during this period respectively in the State.” He said that though Himachal Pradesh accounts for only 0.54 percent of the total population of the country but it was one of the States which constitutes high risk areas reporting higher rates of accidental deaths.
The Chief Minister said that the Himachal Government had allocated Rs. 50 crore each for the financial years 2015-17 for engineering measures to rectify identified black spots. The State had embarked upon a project with the support from World Bank, under the State Roads Project to implement the Road Accident Data Management System (RADMS) which would help in collecting the road accident data and then analyzing it. He also underlined the need to invest more on road engineering.
He urged the Government of India to provide sufficient funds for hill states like Himachal Pradesh which have limited resources, in order to speed up the pace of road works and to ensure road safety to a great extent.
CM thanked the Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadakari for announcing new National Highways for the State with a view to improve infrastructure, boosting tourism and also addressing issues of road safety.
Transport Minister of Himachal Pradesh GS Bali, who presided over the function, demanded that hilly states should be given special priority in taking up road safety measures keeping in view tough topographical conditions and other challenges. He said that road safety plans should not be made for State and National Highways only, rather PMGSY and village roads should also be covered along-with providing emergency care system.
Public Works and Transport Minister of Rajasthan Younis Khan, who is also the Chairman of Group of Minister’s on Road Safety announced to constitute a Sub-Committee under the Chairmanship of GS Bali, which would give its suggestions on road safety and a detailed report would be submitted to the Government of India.
Additional Chief Secretaries Narendra Chauhan and Tarun Shridhar gave detailed presentations on Road Safety Measures and Status of the Roads in Himachal Pradesh.
Transport Ministers of Jharkhand, Goa, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Telangana, Mizoram, Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Vice Chairman, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes and MLA Ravi Thakur, Secretary, Ministry of Surface Transport Sanjay Mitra, Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development J.S Mathur, Additional Chief Secretary Power and Revenue Tarun Shridhar, Principal Advisor to the Chief Minister TG Negi, Principal Secretary, Transport Sanjay Gupta. Former MLA Surinder Kaku and other senior officers of the Union and State Governments were present on the occasion.