SHIMLA: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has underlined the need to strengthen emergency services and trauma care to save people injured in road accidents and said intelligent transport system is the need of the hour.
“The state government had given top priority to the road sector but the cost of construction, maintenance and infrastructural development are high and more funds are needed for building a safety mechanism,” he said at the third meeting of the ‘Group of Ministers on Road Safety and Ease of Transport’ in Kangra district.
Stressing that road safety affects all, particularly the poor, Mr Singh said road designing, emergency medical care, evacuation of victims. engineering, traffic management, driver behaviour, needs to be taken care of.
For reducing accidents by 50 per cent by 2025, a road map should be formulated for the next decade. National Accident Relief Policy should be highlighted and funds for road safety should be created, he said.
The Chief Minister also stressed upon use of Information Technology tools in traffic and road management along with road safety audit.
Informing that 1,099 and 1,096 persons were killed in road accidents in 2014 and 2015 respectively, he said, the state had embarked upon a project with the support from World Bank, to implement Road Accident Data Management System which would help in collecting road accident data and analyse it.
Underlining the need to invest more on road engineering, Mr Singh said Rs. 50 crore has been allocated each for financial years 2015-16 and 2016-17 for engineering works and the Centre has been asked to provide sufficient funds for hill states, to speed-up the pace of road works and to ensure road safety.
He thanked Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari for announcing new National Highways for the state for improving infrastructure, boosting tourism and addressing road safety issues.
The Chief Minister also welcomed the Centre’s decision to have four lanes where traffic count is more than 10,000 passenger car units (PCU), Bharat Parimala Yojana, Bharat Setu Project and the Rail Over Bridge (ROB) Policy.
State transport minister G S Bali, said road safety should be given priority in hilly states keeping in view tough topographical conditions and other challenges. Road safety plans should not be made only for State and National Highways. PMGSY and village roads should also be covered under it, he said. and suggested that road safety be included in school curriculum.
Public Works and Transport Minister of Rajasthan Younis Khan, who is the chairman of Group of Minister on Road Safety announced to set up a sub-committee and its report on road safety will be submitted to the Centre.