PANAJI: The Transport Minister, Ramkrishna Dhavalikar has said that despite the efforts of the authorities to bring down road mishaps, the government has not succeeded in its endeavour particularly because of the risks the two-wheeler take in the state.
He said in India more than 1.50 lakh people are killed each year in traffic accidents, that’s about 400 fatalities a day. In Goa the figure is alarming and every year over 300 fatal accidents are reported. He was speaking at the 29th National Road Safety week organised by the transport department on Monday at Goa Medical College and Hospital complex.
Transport minister also expressed the need to control the rising population of vehicles on the road by bringing in a moratorium.
“We have to drive in controlled mind. In today’s scenario speed has become a style statement. This fashion has resulted in heavy casualties in road accidents. You can use your driving skills but cannot control reckless driving of others. Under such circumstances helmet is a life saver. We will all be better off if we place a moratorium on vehicle ownership but this attempt will surely be criticized, he added.
While commenting on the stringent law on traffic enforcement, to be passed soon, the Transport Minister said that a bill introduced in August 2016 – proposing harsher penalties for traffic offenses and requiring that automakers add safety features – has passed the lower house of parliament and is expected to go through the upper house soon.
The former chief minister, Pratapsingh Rane, said that transport department should strictly enforce lane discipline to prevent accidents. He said overtaking from the left (wrong) side, over speeding and lane indiscipline are the other major causes of mishaps.
The Director General of Police Muktesh Chander said that every year over 300 people die on Goa roads which are roughly two deaths in three days. The law says that helmets are compulsory and that one should not drive a two-wheeler without a helmet but many people still do not use it. Carrying helmet in hand does not come within the definition of wearing, he added.
According to the dean of Goa medical college and hospital, Pradeep Naik, the rise in the accident casualties involving two-wheelers puts the spotlight on the importance of following the road safety rules strictly.
The transport director Nikhil Desai in his welcome speech highlighted the efforts taken to raise awareness on road safety and measures taken to reduce accident rate.
Meanwhile responding to a query on notices displayed in PWD offices that new water connection applications will not be accepted by the department, Dhavalikar said that the practice has been prevalent for a long time. “Every year for a period of one month we don’t release new water connections as a part of water conservation measure and there is no fear of water shortage in the state,” he stated.
He said this practice is being followed every year and during the month of May till the start of the monsoon in the first week of June. No new water connection is released. However, this year the decision to stop giving new connections was taken 15 days earlier because of many factors that include non availability of water, growing tourism, power outages and bursting of pipes.