Road safety structure being overhauled: Government

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New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) The central government is working overtime to change the “entire architecture” of road transport and road safety in the country, a parliamentary panel has been informed.

Around 400 people are killed in road accidents every day across the country.

The government also said that there are problems in terms of sharing of road taxes between states and the centre.

The panel headed by Rajya Sabha MP Kanwar Deep Singh of Trinamool Congress and comprising among others, Kumari Selja, K.C. Venugopal (both Congress), Yogi Aditya Nath and Shatrughan Sinha (both BJP), said the “government should come out with a comprehensive policy on women safety and implement it effectively”, especially for Delhi.

“The division of taxation and how to split the tax revenues is an issue. It is a matter in the concurrent list. What would be the status of State Road Transport Corporations. They carry seven crore passengers every day, three times more than the Indian Railways. They cannot be abolished outright,” a senior official told the departmental standing committee on transport, tourism and culture.

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The committee in its latest report presented in parliament expressed happiness that the ministry of road transport is working on the Road Transport and Safety Bill.

“The Committee is (however) unable to understand why the ministry is taking too much time in implementing security measures in public transport, especially in a city like Delhi, where people travel at odd hours. It is not safe for women to commute in odd hours,” the panel said.

The officials during deposition before the committee said that on the advice of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the latest version of the draft of The Road Transport and Safety Bill was sent to all the states and union territories to seek their comments.

The panel was also told that the ministry is trying to reach a “consensus” on some issues on the same.

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Especially, with regard to tax, the government informed the chairman and members of the panel (from both houses of parliament) that it is trying to work with the state governments.

“We are trying to say, let us do the things which are non-controversial, that is the safety issues,” a top departmental official informed the committee.

The panel has, nevertheless, expressed displeasure on several “delayed” road projects.

It found the situation in Assam, “worst”. In Assam, the panel found that around 17 road projects which were awarded in 2005-06 are yet to be completed.

“Other badly affected states are Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, where various road projects are going on for more than five years,” the committee lamented.

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