Union minister Nitin Gadkari has stressed upon the need for making the public transport people friendly, safe, affordable, accessible, cost-effective and pollution-free. Addressing the 40th Meeting of Transport Development Council last evening, Gadkari who is the minister of road transport and highways said that states must increasingly adopt alternative fuels in the operation of buses and stressed the use of CNG, LNG, electric vehicles and ethanol blended fuels.
Transport ministers from several states including Assam, AP, Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Goa, MP and Mizoram participated in the meeting, along with their transport secretaries and transport commissioners.
Gadkari assured the states of his full support and cooperation in their endeavours to make public transport modern and efficient gave the example of the model of transport for London.
He said that the states must avail all the schemes of central government such as FAME-II to gradually shift to electric vehicles as their cost would come down drastically in near future. He also stressed upon the need of innovation by the states and the need for improving the quality of buses and the public transport so that peoples are attracted to avail their services by shunning the personal vehicles.
Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Gen (Retd) VK Singh stressed upon the adoption of alternative fuels such as CNG, LNG and ethanol etc. which will not only reduce the vehicular pollution but would also save the precious forex.
He desired that rules on Good Samaritan Guidelines would be speedily implemented by the states so that people would readily come forward to help accident victims.
Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Secretary Giridhar Aramane said that COVID pandemic has affected the life very badly. State transport undertakings (STUs) and transports have been hit very hard are still struggling to recover.
He said the Ministry has made several initiatives to mitigate the effect of Covid pandemic on transport sector, such as providing financial assistance to states/UTs for sanitation of public transport, coordinated with transport associations to facilitate the movement of trucks for essential goods, suspending the collection of user-fee at all toll plazas and extending the validity of various documents related to transport till March 31, 2021.
Gadkari has called for reducing road accidents by half by the year 2025, the ministry said in a separate statement.
He suggested that there should be a 3-day mandatory training of engineers of ministry, NHAI, PWD and various agencies related to road construction for awareness about road safety.
Addressing the 19th Meeting of National Road Safety Council (NRSC) on Tuesday, the minister said that reducing accidents is not a gradual process, every stakeholder should take it on top priority with immediate effect. He gave the example of Sweden where zero tolerance towards road accident is adopted.
The minister said India is constructing 30 kilometres of roads everyday which is a great achievement during this pandemic time.
He asked the state governments to motivate people for safer movement on road, the involvement of NGOs should be appreciated in this concern.
He suggested involving social media on major basis for awareness and education about road safety measures. He highlighted that there is a committee of MPs related to road safety, and requested all the MLAs to also focus on the issue of accident reduction in their constituencies.
Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has formulated National Road Safety Council to advise on all the matters pertaining to planning and coordination of policies, standards of safety in the road transport sector, to formulate and recommend road safety programme for implementation by the State Road Safety Organisation among others.
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