Road law lacks tooth

State government still indifferent to road safety.

Hyderabad: After a brief respite, the AP Road Safety Authority Bill has once again gone into limbo. Despite several tragic accidents and thousands of deaths in the state, the government is still indifferent towards road safety.

Senior police officials say that the Road Safety Authority Act will not be a reality in the near future leaving no legal equipment in the hands of enforcement personnel to control accidents.

There was some light at the end of the tunnel when the post of additional DGP (road safety) was created, but after the last major IPS reshuffle, the post was given as additional cha-rge to additional DGP (legal) Vinay Ranjan Ray. Even after six months, he continues to hold charge showing the indifference on the part of the government.

Before the shuffle, Satyanarain, the present additional DGP (technical), who was additional DGP (road safety) had achieved progress in drafting the Road Safety Authority Bill and had said he was hopeful it would be enacted soon.

Under the Bill, half the revenue generated from challans on traffic violations would be granted to the authority for better policing and controlling accidents. But six months and several accidents later, nothing has been done.

But shortly after, he was transferred and the draft Bill is now gathering dust. The toothless Road Safety Authority exists but hardly has any facilities except a room in the Secretariat. “The Road Safety Authority, to be honest, is useless. They don’t even have a peon.

The government is not serious about road safety barring some talk,” a senior police official said. Road Safety Authority chairman S.V Ramana Murthy said all powers are with the police and the government has to bring in legislation.

“The Road Safety Authority should have members from all important departments like transport, R&B, PWD, finance, health, chief engineers of highways and so on. Our authority has just a chairman although it is 12 years old. It is really a sad state of affairs,” said another senior police official.

“After every big accident, there is talk of speeding up work but nothing is done and no money is given,” the official added. So far, the funding for the little that has been done on highways in the state, has come from the World Bank.

Even equipment like speed laser guns are bought with World Bank assistance. Currently, Kerala is the only state which has enacted a law and has a statutory Road Safety Authority with powers to provide for budget and order works.

Kerala has also levied a cess on motor vehicles for generation of revenue. District Road Safety Councils have also been formed and have to submit reports on progress.

Next: Road safety means not implemented

Road safety means not implemented

Hyderabad: Most road safety programmes in the state are made impulsively and left to fizzle out soon after. The transport department started the Safety For All on Roads (SAFAR) nearly a decade ago but the department never earmarked any manpower or funds to keep it running. Several recommendations were made at the time of inception of the programme but hardly any have been implemented.

An approach paper brought out under the programme made several recommendations for driver’s training and refresher courses, strengthening of infrastructure for testing fitness of vehicles, phasing out of old vehicles and so forth.

A grading system for driver’s licenses asses-sing their accident records and helping in evolving their skills were also mooted. “The grading system for driver’s licenses was never done but we hold awareness and orientation progra-mmes,” a senior transport official said.

Over the years, no manpower or specific budget was granted to the programme and it operated voluntarily. “We don’t have enough manpower to do anything. SAFAR doesn’t have a separate wing to do that,” the official added.
Road safety workshops conducted as a one-off thing in June 2006 also made several recommendations for AP and Hyderabad.

( Source : dc )
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