Haryana Vision Zero likely to restart next month, funding approved in principleUpdated: Oct 26, 2020, 23:22 IST
The funding for Haryana Vision Zero (HVZ), a road safety programme aimed at reducing on-road fatalities across Haryana, has been approved in principle, five months after the project folded up due to lack of funds. The programme is likely to restart next month, with officials of the Haryana transport department on Monday confirming that the process for formally doing the same has been initiated.
HVZ is loosely based on the ‘Vision Zero’ concept of Sweden, and is aimed at achieving zero road fatalities in Haryana. Under HVZ, a team of road safety experts collaborate to analyse data of fatal accidents in a particular district and then audit stretches to identify whether human errors, engineering errors, or lack of infrastructure were the causes behind such incidents. The recommendations are then sent to public bodies concerned, for implementation.
For instance, at the Khandsa exit on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, 21 pedestrian fatalities were recorded between 2017 and 2019, the highest in Gurugram. After auditing the stretch, HVZ had identified the lack of pedestrian amenities for crossing the National Highway 48 as the main cause of high fatalities and recommended the installation of a foot overbridge (FOB) at the exit. An FOB was installed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in May this year.
“Last week, during a meeting, it was decided that since the funding for the programme had stopped, the Haryana government would step in. In principle, the decision has been approved and steps for formalising it have started. The remaining paperwork would be completed by the state government in due time,” said Anurag Rastogi, principal secretary, Haryana transport department.
Rastogi added that the matter was put forward for discussion by Manoj Yadav, director general of police (DGP), Haryana, during a meeting in Chandigarh on October 22.
“The proposal for reviving HVZ is important. During its operation, the programme was effective in reducing road fatalities at the district level through identification of black spots and coordinating with all relevant authorities to ensure that road engineering defects, which were leading to accidents, can be rectified. HVZ brought all stakeholders together and its results were visible,” said Yadav.
During its three-year tenure, the total number of road fatalities recorded in both Haryana and Gurugram had declined. As per HVZ data, in Haryana, the total number of road fatalities was 5,390 in 2017, 5,356 in 2018, and 5,125 in 2019. Similarly, for Gurugram, the total number of road fatalities was 484 in 2017, 469 in 2018, and 401 in 2019.
HVZ started operation in May 2017 and initially only covered 10 districts of Haryana. A year later, its coverage extended to all 22 districts in the state
HVZ was entirely privately funded. Every May, an automobile manufacturer and a software development and technology consulting company would cumulatively give annual funding of Rs 3 crore to HVZ, as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds.
However, the companies withdrew the funding this year due to the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, forcing HVZ to shut operations on June 1.
“Vision Zero is a modern, scientific and global approach to road safety and has been adopted by several progressive countries across the world to reduce road traffic deaths and serious injuries. Haryana was the first state to adopt this approach in India and has witnessed a tangible impact. Restarting HVZ programme will not only reduce deaths on Haryana’s roads but can also form a model that can be replicated across the country,” said Sarika Panda Bhatt, programme coordinator, HVZ.
An HVZ official privy to the matter said that in June, a communication was sent to the Haryana government regarding its closure due to lack of funds.
“We had informed the state government about the closing of the programme via email. However, with the government caught up in curbing the spread of coronavirus at the time, there was no response as such. Last month, during a state-level road safety meeting, the matter was discussed and steps for reviving HVZ were subsequently initiated,” the HVZ official cited above said.