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Union minister Nitin Gadkari claims road accident situations is 'more serious' than coronavirus pandemic

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New Delhi, Feb 10: Terming the road accidents situation in India "much serious than coronavirus pandemic", Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that more than 40,000 kms of highways have been brought under safety audit to check deficiencies causing accidents.

Nitin Gadkari

Addresing the issue, the Road Transport and Highways Minister Gadkari said that it is a sordid state of affairs that Indian roads witness 415 deaths per day in accidents, the highest in the world, and losses amount to 3.14 per cent of the GDP.

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Globally, India accounts for the highest road accidents, with 1.5 lakh people being killed and more 3.5 lakh crippled annually.

"Seventy per cent deaths are in the working age group of 18 to 45 years old. There are 415 deaths per day in road accidents in India. I would say this scenario is very much serious than COVID-19 pandemic and it is becoming an alarming situation for us year on year," he said.

"Unfortunately we stand at position 1 in the road accidents in the world, ahead of US and China. Being transport minister, I am sensible and serious for the subject," Gadkari added.

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He was speaking after inaugurating a webinar series by road safety body IRF's India chapter on 'Road safety challenges in India and Preparation of an Action plan'.

Stating that road safety audit during different stages of development appears to be the most suitable way to correct all deficiencies causing accidents, the minister said more than 40,000 kms of highways have been brought under auditing.

"The road safety institutes like IRF along with engineering colleges and IITs can help the government in road safety audits. Each engineering college can be given about 300-500 km of road stretch for road safety audit with some financial aid. Third-party road safety audits will help in finding engineering faults and correcting them," he said.

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    Underlining that 'prevention is always better than cure', the minister lashed out at people behind faulty detailed project reports (DPRs) and sought collaboration from the International Road Federation (IRF) and other bodies for vetting these in a fortnight's time.

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