Union minister Nitin Gadkari has assured that road accident cases in India will go go down by about 50 per cent in the next three years. He has set the target for his Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to reduce the number of road accidents before 2024 by improving quality of roads as well as safety measures.
Nitin Gadkari’s remarks come months after he said that he hopes reduction in deaths in road accidents to go down by 50% before 2025. He had also said that if “we keep waiting till 2030, then at least 6-7 lakh people will die more due to road accidents”.
Addressing a virtual event organised by industry body Ficci, Nitin Gadkari said, “Around 1.5 lakh persons die due to road accidents (every year)… My internal target is before 2024, we will reduce deaths and accidents by 50 per cent.”
Currently, a little over 400 people die every day in India due to road accidents. India also records around 1.5 lakh deaths in five lakh road crashes annually. Nitin Gadkari had listed this record as one of the biggest failures of his ministry in the last seven years.
Gadkari laid emphasis on road quality and safety measures on Indian roads to bring down the figures. His ministry is actively working to reduce black spots from Indian roads. Gadkari pointed out that around 50 per cent of road accidents are due to road engineering problems.
Gadkari said his ministry is striving hard to reduce road accident deaths by restructuring and strengthening four ‘Es’ of road safety — Engineering (including road and automobile engineering), Economy, Enforcement and Education.
Gadkari also said that insurance companies need to cooperate more with respect to road safety activities to help the ministry to bring down casualties in road crashes. “Insurance companies are direct beneficiaries of a saved life. Hence, they can extend their cooperation for various road safety activities… but the cooperation from the insurance companies is very negligible, and cooperation from government insurance companies is zero,” he said.
Gadkari said that there is a shortage of 22 lakh drivers across the country. This has prompted the government to plan 2,000 driving schools, especially in backward districts.