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Rs 40,000 crore being spent to remove black spots on roads, behavioural change vital for reducing accidents: Nitin Gadkari

New Delhi: Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, who has given high priority to reducing road accidents apart from his efforts at boosting road infrastructure, has said the government is spending about Rs 40,000 crore for removing "black spots" on roads.
In an interview with ANI Editor Smita Prakash, Gadkari also talked about the positive ripple effect of investment in infrastructure saying it creates jobs. Noting that human lives are precious, Gadkari expressed concern about the loss of lives in road accidents.

"About five lakh road accidents are reported annually in our country and 1.5 fatalities. Most of those who lost their lives are typically in an age bracket between 18-34. Many due to accidents are left amputated for the rest of their life," Gadkari said.
As per official figures, about 1.54 lakh people lost their lives and 3.84 lakh were injured in 2021 in road accidents. In 2020, 1.31 lakh people lost lives and 3.49 lakh were injured in road mishaps.
"To reduce road accidents, about Rs 40,000 crore are being spent on black spots (accident-prone sites). We are working on the accidental spots and also focusing on automobile engineering," Gadkari said.
"With much humility, I accept that road accidents could not be minimised in the last nine years despite making several attempts. There are a few major reasons linked to the accidents. Automobile engineering needs improvement including mandatory six-air bags, better road engineering ...traffic signals, signage, underpass at strategic locations," he added.
He also emphasised the need for greater respect for traffic norms among people and rued the tendency among some to violate laws.
"Kanoon ke prati dar bhi nahi aur samman bhi nahi (there is also lack of fear and respect for the rules), he said.
"Reducing the number of accidents without people's cooperation would be pretty difficult. Human behavioural change regarding road safety is an important aspect. We have roped in film actors from Bombay and cricketers for raising awareness about road safety and they are actively supporting the cause," he added.
Pointing to the beneficial chain effect of boosting infrastructure, he said sectors such as water, power, transport, and communication attract investment.
"Investments will create job opportunities, and subsequently jobs will alleviate poverty. Infrastructure development is critical to India's growth."
He also cited a famous quote from former American president John F Kennedy in which he said "American roads are not good because America is rich, but America is rich because American roads are good."
Gadkari had in September last year called for a reduction in road accidents and deaths by 50 per cent by 2024.
The total length of national highways in India has increased by about 59 per cent in the nine years of Modi government. The country now has the second-largest road network after the US.
The total length of national highways in India was 91,287 km in 2013-14, which increased to 145,240 km in 2022-23.

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