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Rising accidents because of poor planning, poor quality of Indian engineers: Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari

nitin gadkari road accidents poor quality indian engineers

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, pinpointed the surge in road accidents in India on the diminishing quality of engineering graduates and inadequate project planning. Speaking at the CII National Conclave on “Road Safety – Indian Roads@2030 – Raising the Bar of Safety,” Gadkari emphasized the critical role of engineers in ensuring road safety.

Rising accidents because of poor planning, poor quality of Indian engineers: Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari

“Road safety is a very serious concern in India…The quality of DRPs (detailed project reports) for road projects has fallen in the last few years, and while people want to blame drivers, I think road accidents happen because of engineers,” Gadkari stated, underscoring the importance of robust planning and execution in road projects.”

He highlighted the alarming statistics of road accidents in 2022, with 460,000 reported accidents, 168,000 deaths, and approximately 400,000 serious injuries. This translates to 53 road accidents every hour and 19 deaths in India, indicating an urgent need for comprehensive safety measures. Gadkari expressed the government’s commitment to reducing road accident deaths by 50 percent by 2030.

Gadkari noted a 12 percent increase in road accidents and a 10 percent rise in road accident deaths, resulting in a socio-economic loss of 3.14 percent to GDP. Particularly concerning was the revelation that 60 percent of deaths occurred in the young age group of 18 to 35 years.

To address road safety comprehensively, Gadkari emphasized the four crucial ‘E’s: engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency medical services. He stressed that road accidents result in a significant loss to families, employers, and the economy, underlining the need for collaborative efforts between the industry and government to prevent accidents.

Education plays a pivotal role, according to Gadkari, in building safer infrastructure and promoting responsible driving habits. He called for stronger law enforcement, responsive emergency medical services, and initiatives to address the shortage of 2.2 million drivers in the country through training programs.

The minister highlighted positive outcomes from implementing a system of rewards for good traffic behavior and urged organizations to conduct free eye check-ups for drivers as part of their corporate social responsibility.

Additionally, Gadkari emphasized the importance of education and awareness involving various stakeholders such as schools, colleges, NGOs, start-ups, technology providers, IITs, universities, and traffic and highway authorities.

In a related context, Gadkari announced the deactivation of FASTags with incomplete KYC by banks post-January 31, 2024. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has initiated the ‘One Vehicle, One FASTag’ initiative to discourage the misuse of FASTags, a move aimed at improving the efficiency of the electronic toll collection system and ensuring seamless movement at toll plazas. NHAI’s decision to enforce KYC is in response to data indicating the issuance of multiple FASTags for one vehicle or the use of a single FASTag for multiple vehicles, violating RBI guidelines. Deliberate non-placement of FASTags on vehicle windscreens has also caused unnecessary delays at toll plazas, inconveniencing fellow national highway users.

Via MoneyControl