BHUBANESWAR: Odisha has been selected for performance-based grants from the Centre to improve its road safety outcomes. The State has recorded an increase of about 29 per cent (pc) road fatalities between 2014 and 2021 despite the Supreme Court’s directive to reduce the fatalities by 50 pc by 2020.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) is preparing a ‘State Support Programme for Strengthening Road Safety’ and 14 states, including Odisha, have been found eligible to participate and receive the performance-based grants.
A senior official of the Transport department said the Ministry had sought prerequisite information as required by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the proposed State support programme to help states reduce road accidents and fatalities.
“Approval of the government for State’s participation in the programme has been obtained and the Transport Commissioner asked to submit data on lead agency and other details to the Ministry. An MoU will be signed after the programme is formally launched,” he said.
The apex court committee on road safety had asked to reduce fatalities by at least 10 pc every year; but there has been a steady increase in the number of road deaths in Odisha. The fatalities rose from 3,931 in 2014 to 5,081 in 2021 with an increase of about 29 pc during the period.
Although the districts were directed to conduct a special enforcement drive for one month throughout the State by the RTO and Police with an objective to detect traffic rule violations and thereby reducing accidents and fatalities, it could not be implemented properly due to rural and ULB polls.
Principal Secretary of Commerce and Transport department Bishnupada Sethi has asked Collectors, SPs and all RTOs to start the special drive immediately without any further delay. They have been instructed to hold meetings of the District Road Safety Committee regularly and intensify stringent enforcement against violators of overspeeding, drunken driving, helmet law and use of mobile phones while driving.
Sethi has demanded a report from Collectors indicating the reason as to why the fatalities have increased in their respective district within 15 days besides micro-level monitoring of implementation of the road safety activities at the district level.
- Fatalities rose from 3,931 in 2014 to 5,081 in 2021
- Rise of accidents was 29 pc during the period
- Growth in fatalities was over 25 pc in Gajapati, Jharsuguda, Boudh and Rayagada dists
- Over 200 fatalities have occurred in Keonjhar, Ganjam, Sundargarh, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Khorda and Cuttack districts, last year