Road safety bill not to encroach states' rights, says Gadkari

Road safety bill not to encroach states' rights, says Gadkari

Road safety bill not to encroach states' rights, says Gadkari

With many states raising a red flag to some of the provisions in the proposed road safety law, including collection of tax, Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said the Centre will not take away the states’ rights in the sector.

Speaking to a Consultative Committee of MPs attached to the Transport Ministry here, Gadkari said the proposed bill has more features to provide safer, faster and cost effective movement of passengers and freight in the country.

He said the bill aimed at reducing road accidents by 50 per cent in the next two years. The proposed law also includes safety in construction, design, maintenance of motor vehicles and its components, he added.

When the bill was discussed in the state transport ministers’ meeting earlier, several states had opposed certain provisions fearing that they would loose rights over collection of road tax if the new law was implemented. Criticising the ministry’s proposal to set up a national level umbrella body – National Road Safety Authority of India – to oversee transport related activities in the country, the states also said such body may interfere in their affairs as transport is a state subject.

Gadkari, who promised not to interfere in the states’ rights, said the Centre will ensure that states will get more money from road tax as well as from issuing of national permit.

In the meeting, lawmakers also suggested the government to construct sufficient number of underpasses, arrangement for proper electrification at accident-prone roads and setting up trauma centres at designated places.

The ministry is also planning to revise the proposed fines for traffic rule violations by almost one-fifth of what was originally envisaged in the Draft Road Transport and Safety Bill.

While earlier the proposed fine for first time offenders was between Rs 2,500 to Rs 20,000 for different offences, the government now wants to limit it between Rs 500 to Rs 5,000.

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