NAGPUR: Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari today said serious efforts are underway to bring down by 50 per cent the number of fatalities in road accidents in country.
"About 1.5 lakh people die untimely in about 5 lakh road mishaps every year, which is unfortunate. The (transport) ministry is working to reduce the number of fatalities by 50 per cent," Gadkari told meet-the-press programme here.
Explaining about the measures, Gadkari said government wanted to improve the road conditions, including repairs, and enhance visibility to minimise road curves to save lives.
"I am pained to note that lakhs of people succumb to serious injuries on roads and leave behind their family members to face a number of problems and hardships," the minister said. He said about three lakh people suffer from multiple fractures resulting into loss of hands or limbs.
"Our dream is to make India a accident-free country," he said, adding that only one accident was reported in Sweden last year. "India is one of the countries having a large number of accidents and fatalities. To overcome this, the ministry has identified over 2500 accident spot on the national highways," he added.
Gadkari said national highways constituted only two per cent of total road network but are catering to almost 80 per cent of traffic. "The high density of traffic is causing safety hazards," he said. "Our Ministry has plans to increase the national highways network to least 1.5 lakh kms from 80,000 kms when the NDA government took over.
"In the process, we already have about one lakh kms road (network) which means an addition of 20,000 kms by the government," he said. Gadkari said the national highways network in Maharashtra has increased from 5660 kms to 21,976 kms during last two years of NDA government.
Referring to ambitious 'Sagarmala' project, the minister said that 28 mega projects have been planned with an investment to the tune of Rs 95,000 crore for infrastructure development and for development of ports and industry.
"During last two years, total investment approved and commenced is Rs 29,382 crore (sic)," he said.