Gadkari: Road Bill to cross hurdles; get nod in Budget session

Saturday, Jan 30, 2016,15:28 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | Not being able to get the Road Safety Bill passed in Parliament so far is the only black spot in his ministry, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today, expressing hope that it will cross all hurdles and get cleared in the upcoming Budget session.

It pains me that the proposed Road Safety Bill has been the ‘only black spot’ in the ministry as we have not been able to get it passed despite the same promising widespread reforms.

It is on concurrent list and we seek support from states for it, the Road Transport and Highways Minister said at the ET Global Business Summit here. There is are lot of political problems with the subject. This is one subject where we could not get success but I am confident that in the next session the bill will be passed. I have talked to many Chief Ministers.

We have assured them that we are not taking any powers from states, Gadkari said. The new Road Transport and Safety Bill seeks to come down heavily on traffic offenders and proposes steep penalties of up to Rs 3 lakh along with a minimum 7-year imprisonment for death of a child in certain circumstances, besides huge fines for driving violations.

The minister said the government has already taken a decision to form a Road Safety Authority and the matter is pending before the Cabinet. Gadkari said once the law is enacted, it would overhaul the sector bringing in transparency and curbing malpractices.

Unfortunately, India accounts for about 5 lakh road accidents per annum in which 1.5 lakh people die, he said, adding that the Bill aims to bring down fatalities as well as accidents.

He said his ministry is committed to contributing at least 2 per cent to the GDP from the sector besides aiming to reduce accidents by more than 50 per cent in the next two years.

The Bill has been designed after studying relevant laws of US, UK, Singapore and Japan and would bring transparency in the sector. Presently 30 per cent of the licences in the country are bogus, he added.

Earlier, allaying States’ fear that new Bill will take away their rights, Gadkari has said, I assure the states that they will not be disturbed. We will not take a single paisa from your revenue and in fact, we want to give support to the states.

There are some misconceptions about the proposed Act. On road building targets, the minister said it will be raised to 30 km a day, from 18 km at present.

Also he said that most of the 384 stuck projects have been rolled out and problems in 7 projects of total 21 problematic ones left have been resolved.

He said contracts worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore have been awarded while work on all major projects including Eastern Peripheral have been started. Road and shipping sectors will create 50 lakh jobs, he said.

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