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Saved only 5% lives in road accidents instead of 50%, admits Nitin Gadkari

Union minister wants Rajya Sabha to promptly pass bill aimed at ensuring transparency in regional transport offices, advocates increased reliance on eco-friendly fuels.

india Updated: May 19, 2018 12:28 IST
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Nitin Gadkari,Union road transport and highways minister,Road accidents
Union minister Nitin Gadkari said expressways and river-linking projects were changing the face of development in the country.(PTI File)

Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday said he has been able to save only 5% of the lives threatened by road accidents instead of his personal goal of 50%, and this was an unfortunate blemish on his performance record.

Addressing an event organised by a news publication in Bhopal that evening, Gadkari said a road safety bill passed in the Lok Sabha to curb road accidents has been pending in the Rajya Sabha for over a year now. The legislation is currently being scrutinised by a standing committee.

The minister maintained that his secretary went to meet the panel on nine occasions while he personally called on them three times. “I asked them to help me get the bill passed as people were dying,” said Gadkari without naming anybody in particular. “I couldn’t do much, and I accept it. There is just one year left now, and it’s a black spot on me. But I am trying my best.”

Gadkari said as many as five lakh accidents occur on an average every year, killing 1.5 lakh people and injuring another three lakh.

The bill – aimed at effecting transparency in regional transport offices – was tabled in Parliament only after a committee headed by Rajasthan transport minister Yunus Khan submitted its report on the matter, the Union minister said. “But the states objected on the grounds that it would curtail their powers. They should understand that corruption has to be eradicated.”

Gadkari also stressed on the need to optimise the use of non-conventional fuel in motor vehicles instead of petrol and diesel. Such a shift would curb transport costs while benefiting the environment at the same time, he said.

The Union minister said expressways and river-linking projects were changing the face of development in the country. “Ladakh and Leh, which used to be cut off from the rest of the country for nearly six months a year, are now accessible through the year due to the construction of a tunnel. Kashmir alone lays claim to road projects worth Rs 80,000 crore under the present government,” he added.

First Published: May 19, 2018 12:28 IST