The state plans to create a Rs250-crore fund to make roads in Maharashtra, which witness 65,000 accidents every year, safer. But your safety will come at a price — the money for this corpus will be generated through a cess that will be levied on newly registered vehicles.
The state transport department, which issued an order on the plan earlier this month, said the cess will also be levied on vehicles being brought to Maharashtra from other states. The amount hasn’t been finalised, but sources said it is likely to be 10% of the vehicle tax charged during registration. The tax is around 7% of the cost of the vehicle in the state. So those buying a small car worth Rs3 lakh may have to pay Rs2,100 towards the road safety fund, in addition to the Rs21,000 vehicle tax.
The government hopes to collect Rs250 crore annually through the cess. It also plans to set up a regulatory body including secretaries of transport, home, finance, public works and health departments to ensure effective use of the fund. While the chief secretary of the state will lead the body, it will have the transport commissioner as its secretary.
“The state government is likely to announce the date for creation of the fund within a month,” said a senior RTO official, adding the fund will help the transport and traffic authorities take steps, which were so far stuck for want of funds.
The transport authorities can use the money for road safety campaigns, to buy gadgets and equipment such as CCTVs, speed guns, breath analysers, along with improving road safety infrastructure such as signages on highways, instead of depending on annual budgetary provisions.
The department plans to develop an integrated traffic system and set up a road safety cell for scientific analysis of road accidents.