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Indore(PTI): Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday said that with the objective of reducing the number of road accidents, the Centre is mulling various proposals and was going to make air-conditioning mandatory in the driver’s cabin of buses and trucks.
Speaking after inauguration of 76th conference of Indian Road Congress here, he said, “Every year around 1.5 lakh people die and three lakh people get injured in road accidents in the country. Around 5 lakh accidents take place every year and we want to curtail this number by at least 50 per cent.” He said that attention must be paid to road engineering, otherwise in future we may have to think of registering cases against those who make detailed project reports (DPRs) of roads if a faulty road is found to be reason of the accident.
The engineers, he said, should not change the land acquisition plans for roads under pressure from local politicians. Talking to reporters later, Gadkari said the Road Transport Ministry has identified accident-prone spots on highways and drafted a Rs 12,000 crore scheme to prevent accidents by improving the condition of the highways.
“We are going to make air-conditioning of driver cabins of trucks and buses mandatory so that the drivers, who work for several hours non-stop, get some relief and can drive with more alertness,” he said.
His ministry is also thinking of forming teams of paramedical personnel who can rush to the scene of accident on motorcycles and provide first-aid quickly, he said.
The Minister denied that the Road Safety Bill of the Centre encroaches on powers of the state governments. Gadkari expressed hope that electronic toll collection system would start operating on all the highways by April 1, and added that his ministry is ready to give financial aid to states to set up this system on the roads other than highways too.
To a question, he said under the UPA government policy, private companies were allowed to start recovering toll after 75 per cent of the road work is complete, but the NDA government was thinking of allowing toll recovery only after the 100 per cent completion of toll-road.