BHUBANESWAR: In its bid to strengthen road safety enforcement and support mechanisms along the highways, the State Transport Department has moved to fix benchmarks on functioning of interceptor vehicles and ambulances in different districts.
While it has sought 20 more interceptors to be deployed in different accident prone and vulnerable roads, the Department has begun to fix accountability on the existing fleet of 14. The interceptors are presently deployed under Regional Transport Officers (RTOs) in Balasore, Bhubaneswar, Chandikhole, Ganjam, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Puri, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Angul, Jagatsinghpur, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh.
A recent review of the performance of interceptors revealed that movement of the vehicles was not satisfactory prompting Transport Commissioner CS Kumar to pull up the district authorities.
“Huge amount of Government money has been spent on the vehicles and equipment. Besides, money is being spent on wages of staff and maintenance of vehicles. Non-utilisation leads to wastage of money and human resources,” he ticked off the RTOs concerned in a circular issued recently.
Most road accidents are caused due to faults of drivers. The interceptors are equipped with advanced speed detection radars and breath analysers for checking drunk driving. GPS tracking devices have been fitted to monitor the movement of interceptors.
The Department has developed a utilisation plan for the interceptors making it compulsory for them to run a minimum of 150 km distance per day and spend five hours per day in enforcement activities. The performance of the vehicles will be evaluated every month and only on satisfaction, the wages of staff and maintenance costs would be released, Kumar warned.
Similar instructions have been issued to accident helplines set up in several districts by NGOs and Truck Owners’ Associations under Odisha Road Safety Society (ORSS) on movement of ambulances deployed by them.
As many as nine helplines with ambulances are presently functional in some districts with the objective of rendering immediate assistance to road accident victims. The helplines are being provided `5 lakh for maintenance annually.
Under the new benchmark, the ambulances will have to cover a minimum of 100-150 km per day as per the location with running time from three to five hours.