Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways discusses functioning of NHIDCL
A meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways was held in New Delhi last evening under the Chairmanship of Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari to discuss the functioning of National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd ( NHIDCL) and the issue of road safety.
Through a presentation made on the functioning of NHIDCL, the committee was informed that the company is working to fast pace the construction of National Highways and other infrastructure in the North Eastern states and strategic areas. NHIDCL is currently entrusted with 109 projects in 13 states that include Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Sikkim, West Bengal, A&N Islands, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand. The total length of the projects in 7148 Km and they are at various stages of project development.
Chairing the meeting the Minister informed that there is a target to award road projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore in the North East during the next five years. The Minister also informed that several bridges have come up on the river Brahmaputra, providing relief to a large number of people.
Gadkari also informed that there are plans for making 1100 Km all weather road at Rs 12,000 crore in Uttarakhand, of which about Rs 650- 700 crore worth of work has already been awarded.
Regarding road safety, the committee was informed that the Government has set a target for reducing road accident fatalities by 50 % by 2020 and has taken several steps to prevent road accidents. A National Road Safety Policy has been approved, which outlines various policy measures like promoting awareness, establishing road safety information data base, encouraging safer road infrastructure, enforcement of safety laws etc.
The Government has constituted the National Road Safety Council as the apex body to take policy decisions in the matter of road safety. The Ministry has evolved a multi pronged strategy to tackle the problem based on the 4 Es viz Education, Engineering (both of roads and vehicles) Enforcement and Emergency Care. Road safety has been made an integral part of road designing, safety audits are being taken up for selected stretches of National Highways, around 700 accident black spots have been identified and remedial steps are being taken at such spots.
The threshold for four laning of National Highways has been reduced from 15000 Passenger Car Units (PCUs) to 10,000 and about 52,000 km of state highways are set to be converted into National Highways. It is planned to set up model driving training institutes in states and run publicity campaigns in print and electronic media.
NHAI provides ambulances at a distance of 50 km on its completed stretches of National Highways. Pilot projects for cashless treatment of road accident victims has been started on Gurgaon-Jaipur, Vadodara – Mumbai stretch of NH 8 and Ranchi-Rargaon-Mahulia stretch of NH 33. The Ministry plans to extend this scheme to road accident victims on North-South corridor, East-West Corridor and Golden Quadrilateral.
Members of the Consultative Committee appreciated the work being done by the Road Transport and Highway Ministry. They also pointed out certain problems in their respective areas, which were noted for follow up action. Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highway, Managing Director NHIDCL and other senior officials from the Ministry were also present at the meeting.