India to universalise Bharat Stage-III norms from April 2010

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New Delhi, Jun 17 (UNI) The government today said Bharat Stage-IV emission norms for four-wheeled vehicles would be extended to eleven identified mega cities and Bharat Stage-III norms throughout the country from April 1, 2010.

''The Department of Road Transport and Highways is in the process of notifying the rules in this regard very soon,'' Union Road Transport and Highways Minister T R Baalu said.

Mr Baalu, who was addressing the 18th meeting of Consultative Committee of MPs attached to his ministry, also averred that the government would take all possible measures expeditiously to improve road safety scenario in the country.

Pointing out that the expansion in road network, motorisation and urbanisation in the country had been accompanied by a worrisome increase in road accidents, the minister said 1,05,749 people were killed in 4.6 lakh road mishaps during 2006. Besides, five lakh people were injured.

''These numbers translate into one road accident every minute and one road accident death every five minutes for India. At the prices of year 2000, it amounted to three per cent of GDP or Rs 55,000 crore per year,'' he informed the committee.

A major challenge confronting his government, Mr Baalu said, was to adopt a multi-pronged approach to road safety encompassing a broad range of measures, including traffic management, design and quality of road infrastructure, safer vehicles, law enforcement and provision of accident care.

In this connection, he pointed out that the Sundar Committee's proposal for earmarking of minimum one per cent of total proceeds of cess on diesel and petrol for the Road Safety Fund is at an advanced stage of approval.

Official sources said the Committee of Secretaries had already approved in March this year. The proposal will now go to the Union Cabinet for its final approval.

Also, the committee's proposal for creation of of an apex body -- The National Road Safety and Traffic Management Board -- at the national level is also under the active consideration of the government.

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