New Delhi: An average of 400 persons die every day in road accidents in India with “faulty engineering” being a major cause, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday while admitting that not much has changed even after two years of “dedicated work and sincere efforts”.
Releasing a report on road accidents in India in 2015, the Minister for Road Transport and Highways said he is “deeply pained” at the findings that show 17 deaths in 57 crashes per hour and over 54% of those getting killed being in the age group of 15-34 years.
“Let people criticise us but I want to make the report public. Our two years of dedicated work and sincere efforts has resulted in not much change but we are committed to changing the scenario as I cannot allow this. My heart fills with immense pain,” he said.
“This magnitude was not killed in wars, epidemic and militancy,” Gadkari told reporters while releasing the report.
“Human sacrifices cannot be allowed. We have taken a slew of steps in the last two years to minimise this including launch of Pradhan Mantri Sadak Suraksha Yojana and earmarking 1% of the project cost for road safety that translates to Rs 5,000 crore on it,” he added.
He said though the reports lists driver’s fault for 77.1% of the road accidents in 2015, “faulty road engineering” is one of the major causes.
Gadkari also sought to blame the previous government, saying that the steps taken by the “UPA regime to economise construction cost has done away with several overbridges and underpasses on many crucial roads leading to high number of accidents at several places including on Delhi-Gurgaon stretch”.
He said the government is confident of bringing down road fatalities by 50% in a year’s span through massive initiatives that include decision to construct 4-lane highways where the traffic is over 10,000 pcu (passenger car unit) as against previous specification of 25,000 pcu.