Around 1.5 lakh people die in five lakh road accidents every year across the country, transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari told Lok Sabha on Thursday.
Due to such a large number of accidents, the country has to lose Rs 55,000 crore annually, which is 3% of the GDP, he said during Question Hour.
“Around 1.5 lakh people die in around 5 lakh road accidents every year in the country,” Gadkari said. The minister said during 12th Five Year Plan, private investment to the tune of approximately Rs 1,78,000 crore are required for development of national highways out of the total requirement of Rs 4,83,000 crore.
Gadkari said all problems related to execution of 95% highway projects were resolved and their works will start very soon. In case of the remaining 5% projects, efforts are on to resolve the pending issues, he said.
“Considering the importance of completing the projects, various steps have been taken by the government and the national highways authority of India to remove the hurdles affecting the construction of national highways that includes streamlining of land acquisition and regulatory clearances, close coordination with other ministries, revamped disputes resolution mechanism etc.,” he said.
He said the NHAI has also decided not to award projects till all major pre-construction approvals are in-place for the projects to avoid post bid delays and litigations. To another question, Gadkari said the Centre has recently launched the Green Highways (Plantation, Transplanation, Beautification and Maintenance) Policy 2015 to develop eco-friendly national highways with participation of community, farmers, NGOs, private sector, government agencies and the forest department.
Its key objectives are: to evolve a policy framework for plantation along NHs, to reduce the impacts of air pollution and dust as trees and shurbs are known to be natural sink for air pollutants, to reduce the impact of ever increasing noise pollution, to arrest soil erosion, to prevent glare from the headlinght of incoming vehicles etc. Gadkari said his Ministry has already decided that henceforth, for the work related to the greening of highways, 1% of civil work costs should be added separately while arriving at the total project cost of NHs being built.
Around 10 lakh people would get employment opportunities under this initiative, he said. Gadkari also appealed to all MPs to come forward to help the road transport ministry to implement the green initiative successfully.