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Plan to earmark Rs. 11,900 cr for making highways safer: Gadkari

The Union Government plans to spend Rs. 11,900 crore for the removal of black spots (danger/accident-prone zones) on the national highways by making the requisite changes in the road design, the Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Mr Nitin Gadkari has said.
Inaugurating the two-day national workshop on road safety 2016 in Visakhapatnam last week, he said it was a matter of serious concern that 1.5 lakh people were dying on Indian roads every year and the Centre, with the cooperation of the States, was committed to bringing down the road accident deaths.
The total length of national highways was 96,000 km and the plan was to increase it to 2 lakh km, but the focus would be on making them safer.
Engineering defects
Attributing 70 to 80 per cent of the road accidents to road engineering defects, he said 786 black spots were identified and funds would be allocated under the Pradhan Manthri Surakshit Sadak Yojana for making the necessary design changes. The rectification of the identified black spots would be done within two years. He said 30 per cent of the driving licences issued were fake, and he urged the States to leverage technology to check corruption in the Transport Department.
Vehicle fitness testing
The other plans of the Centre include allocation of Rs. 1 crore as grant for every district for the development of driving test tracks, driver training and vehicle fitness testing centres, launching of 1,000 emergency ambulances along the national highways for safe and timely shifting of accident victims to hospitals, road safety education to children and use of technology to minimise corruption in the Transport Department.
The Chief Minister Mr N Chandrababu Naidu, welcomed the idea of the Union Minister to establish an accident fund to repay the loans taken from banks to provide various road safety initiatives.
He said that 700 black spots were identified on all roads in AP and the State government would take all steps to address the problem and bring down the accident rate.

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