In a stern warning to officials over faulty project reports, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today cautioned that officials concerned could be booked in case of accidents happening due to flawed road designing.
The Road Transport and Highways Minister said he was “immensely pained” to see that as high as 1.5 lakh people are dying in road accidents here annually and faulty road designing is one of the major causes of accidents on several stretches.
“With folded hands I want to make a request to those who prepare DPRs (detailed project reports). Please don’t take wrong meaning of my words. I am giving instruction that on those roads where frequent accidents happen, persons making DPRs should also be made accused…I will ensure this comes in the Act,” Gadkari said at highways sector stakeholders’ meet and launch of ministry’s information technology initiatives.
The Centre has constituted a group of ministers (GoM), headed by Rajasthan Transport Minister Yunus Khan, for framing stricter traffic rules and penalties for various offences.
“It immensely pains me to see 1.5 lakh road accident deaths … Not so many people die in any war or serious mishap…For every accident driver alone is not responsible. For many accidents wrong road engineering and faulty design is responsible,” Gadkari asserted.
Cautioning officials concerned to take utmost precautions while drafting DPRs, the Minister also said that there should be adequate provisions of underpasses and overbridges for crossing of roads which in the past were lacking from many crucial stretches to make the project more cost-effective.
“When you make DPR and somebody from Ministry or NHAI asks you to change the design, ask them to give so in writing. Wherever there is needed, we have to make overbridge, underpasses otherwise if road speed increases without any provision of crossing, accidents will increase.”
India accounts for as high as 5 lakh road accidents per annum in which 3 lakh people are crippled while another 1.5 lakh die and the total cost to the economy on this account is valued at 3 per cent of the GDP.
“I do not feel like watching TV as it is full of news of road accidents…This situation cannot be allowed to continue anymore…. Please bring innovative techniques… Irony is that people function with outdated mindset which needs to be changed,” the Minister said.
He also added that despite innovative measures being brought in people are reluctant to use them and cited examples as to how Highways Ministry had made it mandatory blending of 7.8 per cent waste plastic in bitumen road which was not followed.
He said the Ministry would keep a close vigil as the method would minimise pollution and added that despite notification waste material like iron slag were not used in highways making.