A couple of days after a bus accident killed 21 people in Shimla district, transport minister GS Bali said that the bad roads in the state can be partially blamed for frequent accidents.
Meanwhile, the minister has shot off a letter to the central government to make crash barriers mandatory on hilly roads. Bali said that though only bad roads could not be blamed for road accidents in the state but it is one of the reasons. He said he has visited the spot of the recent accident at Kadharghat. “The road where the accident occurred was too narrow to accommodate two vehicles,” he said while adding that the parapet constructed on the roadside was also not in good condition.
He said that he has written a letter to union surface transport minister Nitin Gadkari, suggesting that crash barriers should be installed on the roadside instead of parapet. “The union ministry should make it mandatory to install crash barriers on the roadside in hilly areas and also make roads above 4,000 feet safer,” added Bali.
He said that the government should include the installation of crash barriers along the roadside in the project and a separate budget should be allocated for this. Crash barriers could lessen the road accidents, he observed.
The minister informed that the transport department has also asked the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) of Pune to conduct a road safety audit in Shimla, Sirmaur, Chamba and Mandi. He said a CRRI team would audit the safety standards of roads in four districts and a team of National Institute of Technology (NIT), Hamirpur, would assist them. “The government will adopt the measures recommended by the audit reports,” he added.
The minister said the transport department had submitted a list of black spots to the public works department and also asked the department to submit the estimates of spot repairing.
The department has allotted Rs 35 lakh for a laser speed gun to check the overspeed driving while Rs 40 lakh have been allocated for the publicity and training. Besides, Rs 40 lakh has been allocated for the district road safety committee and traffic monitoring kit.
Replying to a question about sloppiness on the part of mechanical wing of the department, Bali clarified that none of buses moves out from the workshop without proper maintenance. “We need to upgrade our workshops and we are adopting advanced measures for it,” he said while adding that all buses plying on the state roads were in good condition.
Rubbishes Dhumal's remark on state buses
Reacting to former chief minister Prem kumar Dhumal's statement on the condition of buses in the state, Bali said that Dhumal is not a technical person who could point out the technical problems in the buses. “It's easy to give a statement but hard to work in the face of ground realities,” he added.