Ministers’ panel for heavy fines to ensure road safety

Bengaluru, May 21 (IANS) State transport ministers on Friday favoured stringent penalties on drunken and reckless driving, over-speeding and overloading of trucks and other offences to ensure safety of all road users across the country.

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“We are recommending amendments to the Central Motor Vehicle Act, 1998 with heavy fines for regulating vehicular traffic, ensuring road safety and reducing mishaps,” Rajasthan Transport Minister Yunus Khan told reporters here.

Khan, who heads the empowered group of state transport ministers the central government formed in February, deliberated on issues and challenges the road sector is facing due to explosive growth of transportation across the country and its fallout on citizens, especially pedestrians and cyclists.

“The recommendations are essential for safety of the people on national and state highways, but also across cities, towns and villages and instil fear in the offenders on violating traffic rules and regulations,” he said after chairing the group’s second meeting here.

The group also endorsed an earlier recommendation to increase penalty on over loading of trucks at the rate of Rs.1,000 per tonne.

“We have also recommended free movement of trucks across the states by minimising check-posts, avoiding delays at inter-state border posts and reducing paper work by using electronic clearances and payments,” Khan said.

The group has formed a three-member committee comprising IT secretaries of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan to set up a national network for seamless exchange of information and data on movement of trucks, buses and other types of vehicles across the country.

Transport ministers of seven states – Chattisgarh, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Karnataka and transport secretaries and commissioners from other states participated in the day-long meeting.

The first meeting was held in New Delhi on March 2 and the third meeting is scheduled at Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh on June 20.

The penalty and punishment will be fixed in consultation with the union law and home ministries.

The group was formed after the central government failed to pass a new road safety bill in parliament due to opposition from lawmakers across party lines.

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