Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday hoped that the road accidents and resultant deaths in the country will be reduced by 50 per cent before 2025, and said there should be no compromise on saving the lives of the persons involved in road accidents.
Stating that 415 people die on roads in India every day, Road Transport and Highways Minister Gadkari said there is a need to expedite the task of saving the lives of people.
The minister said that last year, the Centre had participated in a conference in Sweden where a vision was conceptualised to have zero road fatalities in India by 2030.
"We had promised that we will reduce deaths and accidents by 50 per cent. Today, we saw the success story of Tamil Nadu. It (Tamil Nadu) has reduced the accidents and deaths by 53 per cent," the minister said.
He added that if "we keep waiting till 2030, then at least 6-7 lakh people will die more due to road accidents". Before 2025, the country will be able to reduce the deaths and accidents by 50 per cent, the minister said.
Gadkari also said the government will spend Rs 14,000 crore to identify black spots on roads which are vulnerable to accidents.
"The World Bank and ADB (Asian Development Bank) have given approval to two projects worth Rs 7,000 crore each. We are hopeful of getting approval from the finance ministry soon. We will spend Rs 14,000 crore to identify black spots," Gadkari said during the launch of the National Road Safety Month.
The minister also expressed hopes that by March-end, the road construction target of 40 km a day would be achieved.
"This time, till now, we have broken the record of road construction. Today, we have reached over 30 km... Probably, by this March-end, we will reach road construction of 40 km per day," Gadkari said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who was also present on the occasion, said deaths due to road accidents not only lead to the loss of life but also hit the country's economy.
He also said programmes like the National Road Safety Month not only exude confidence in people but also help in increasing awareness.
Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways V K Singh said around 1.5 lakh persons die on road every year due to various reasons.
The National Road Safety Month, he said, should be utilised to bring in a culture of safety.
To put a check on the rising accidents, he said the ministry has taken various initiatives.
Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said India is a country where 85 per cent passenger travel and 65 per cent freight travel take place by road.
He also said the government has taken various initatiatives to put a check to road accidents and the Centre is also working on reducing black spots.
During the Road Safety Month, awareness about causes of road accidents and measures to prevent them will be highlighted by organising various activities with school and college students, drivers and all other road users.
These activities include display of banners, walkathons, road signage and pamphlets related to road safety.
Various departments of state governments like transport, police, PWD, health, education, municipal bodies, vehicle manufacturers and dealers and doctors, among others, would also participate in events during the month.