Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari
Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari
File Photo

Mumbai: Thirty per cent of the driving licences in the country are bogus – this was the shocking revelation that emerged from Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Sunday. He further said that he held officials and engineers responsible for the proliferation of bogus licences and road accidents.

He lashed out at his own department officials, saying that it was the easiest to get a driving licence in India. “The regional or road transport officer apologises to his higher-up after seeing ‘Gandhiji’ (accepting bribe), then he stamps and clears the licence papers. I really feel ashamed to share that 30 per cent licences are bogus,” he noted. Gadkari strongly criticised the regional or road transport officials for issuing licences after accepting bribes.

“People don’t improve until their sons or daughters die. I myself never use a government vehicle. I have changed the security rules, as it is of paramount importance,” he opined.

Gadkari claimed that half the road accidents took place because of engineers, as the detailed project reports are bogus and fraud in most of the cases. “The ministry has spent Rs 12,000 crore to fix black spots in order to curb road accidents across the country,” he said.

Gadkari’s statement at Nagpur came days after he had announced that his ministry aimed to halve the number of road accidents by 2025. He had said that reducing accidents was not a gradual process, that it should be treated as top priority with immediate effect. He had also envisaged a major role being played by social media in creating awareness and education about road safety measures.

The ministry has issued a draft notification for the accreditation of driver training centres. An individual who successfully completes the driving training from these centres will be exempted from a driving test while he or she applies for a driving licence. The ministry hopes that it will help the transport industry to have specially-trained drivers, which should eventually translate to better efficiency, along with the reduction in the number of road accidents.

Today’s the last day to get that FASTag

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said on Sunday that the deadline for the implementation of FASTags would not be extended further and vehicle-owners should immediately adopt the e-payment facility.

FASTags, which facilitate electronic payment of fee at toll plazas, were introduced in 2016. Making the tags compulsory will help ensure that vehicles pass seamlessly through toll plazas, as the fee will be paid electronically.

Gadkari said the government had extended the deadline for FASTag registration twice or thrice earlier and now, there would be no further extensions.

FASTag registrations have gone up to 90 per cent on some routes. It is also available at tollnakas and people should purchase and use it for seamless traffic, he said.

The Central Government had extended the FASTag deadline for vehicles from January 1, 2021, to February 15, 2021.

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