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23 Nov 2017, 14:52 HRS IST
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  • Gadkari seeks global cooperation for road safety

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18:51 HRS IST

Greater Noida, Nov 14 (PTI) India stands committed to reducing road accidents by 50 per cent by 2020, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today, while seeking global cooperation for road safety and innovative technologies.

Inaugurating the IRF World Road Meeting (WRM 2017) here, with focus on safe and smart mobility, he said that steps are underway to rectify black spots which will cost Rs 12,000 crore.

India accounts for one of the highest road accidents globally. Every year, 1.5 lakh people are killed while 3 lakh are crippled in 5 lakh accidents.

"A clear vision and advanced technology can take India to the league of developed nations," Gadkari said while inaugurating the 4-day event organised by Geneva based International Road Federation (IRF).

"We seek innovative technologies in highway projects...as India is committed to reducing fatal road accidents by 50 per cent by the end of 2020 as the country is signatory to UN Decade of Action," he said.

Transport ministers from eight countries including Canada, Finland, Luxembourg, Russia and UAE are participating in the event, being attended by over 1,000 global road safety experts and organisations.

Gadkari said that as part of the plan to reduce fatalities, the transport ministry has undertaken a Rs 12,000 crore project to rectify black spots.

It has identified 786 black spots, of which 168 have been already rectified, he added.

For putting up a massive highways network, the government plans to build 40 km of roads a day, up from 28 km at present, he said.

On pollution, he said, India has laid particular emphasis on promoting alternative fuels for vehicles and ethanol blending programme.

Maruti Suzuki India non-executive chairman RC Bhargava said the pattern of road use is different in the Western countries as compared to India.

"The data at present being used to implement road safety measures particularly for vehicular safety is not reliable.

The government needs to find actual causes of road deaths," he said.

Maruti Suzuki, as part of endeavour to increase awareness about road safety, will soon be signing an MoU with Delhi government to provide technology solutions for road safety and enforcement of law in the capital, he said.

"This will include providing high definition cameras to assess real time traffic volume, traffic monitoring, detecting traffic violations and automatic challaning to promote traffic discipline," he added.

He said that as per the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) data, about 72 per cent vehicles are two wheelers in the country and 24 per cent, four-wheelers.

About 35 per cent of total road deaths in the country are of two-wheeler riders, 18 per cent of four-wheeler owners, 11 per cent of truck users and 10 per cent pedestrians.

Bhargava said the government figures of 84 per cent deaths being caused due to drivers' fault need to be further researched.

He said some of the solutions needed are educating and enforcing wearing of helmet by those riding two-wheelers as well as the government encouraging two-wheeler users to shift to four-wheel vehicles for safety.

Besides, the driver licence issuing should be made more stringent with automation and use of modern technology, he said.

IRF Chairman KK Kapila said the global meet is a platform to facilitate the cross-pollination of ideas among pioneers, businesses and organisations as also to connect high-tech companies, leading experts in the field and the governments, making mobility a positive reality for everyone.

Minister of Transport, Finland, Anne Berner; Transport Minister, Canada, Marc Garneau and First Deputy Minister of Transport of Russian Federation Ditrih Evgeny Ivanovich were also present at the event.

The WRM includes an exhibition showcasing state-of-the- art technologies on road safety and traffic regulations. The event is supported by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and the NITI Aayog among others.

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