NEW DELHI: The prime minister’s office (PMO) has directed the road transport ministry to formulate and implement a policy for quality and safety ranking of national highways using automated data collection and to put in place a mechanism to ensure that mandatory computerised driving test is being conducted at every centre across the country.
The road transport ministry has been asked to implement these while continuing its current rate of highway construction. The PMO’s directions came recently when PM Narendra Modi was chairing the review meeting of secretaries from transport sectors. It has also set a target of raising Rs 12,000 crore by monetising completed projects during 2020-21 and constructing 11,000 km in the same time period. The targets have been set well in advance so that agencies can prepare their roadmap.
Safety ranking and assessing the riding quality of NHs have been the two major unfinished tasks of road transport ministry and these gain importance considering that the number of persons killed on NHs has continuously increased from 47,649 in 2014 to 54,046 during last year. Nearly 36% of all 1.51 lakh fatalities took place on the NHs.
Sources said NHAI has started using network survey vehicle and is also collecting data from automatic traffic classifying counters at toll plazas. “The NHAI and other agencies owning the highways must put this date in public domain to spread awareness and this will also put pressure on the government agencies and private operators to fix the problem,” said a government official.
Considering that objective testing of drivers before giving them a driving licence is the key to prevent untrained drivers on the roads, sources said cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba on Friday asked the road transport ministry to give this task to one joint secretary level officer. Though road safety experts have raised questions over the government data, the annual road accident reports claim that driver behaviour is responsible for nearly three-fourth of the road accidents and fatalities in India.
The amended Motor Vehicle Act has provisions for mandatory computerised driving test to plug the malpractices while giving DLs. Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari had even gone to the extent of saying that getting a DL in India is perhaps the easiest across the globe and he had also stumped MPs when he asked how many of them had actually appeared for the driving to obtain a DL.Source: Times Of India