Sunday, Sep 14, 2003
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By B.S. Ramesh
Highly placed sources in the Government told The Hindu that the decision to constitute a road safety fund was taken at a conference of transport ministers, transport secretaries, and transport commissioners in Hyderabad a few days ago. One of the important decisions taken at the conference was to set up a road safety fund in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Maharashtra, and Pondicherry.
Sources said that while the modalities of the fund were only being worked out, it had been decided to seek Central assistance. Organisations would be requested to make donations, and the fund was likely to be managed by a corporation to be set up for the purpose.
In Karnataka, the exercise to set up is likely to be completed soon. The Transport Secretary, who heads the Karnataka State Road Safety Council, is expected to chair the corporation.
Sources said a Rs. 64-crore World Bank initiative had already been drawn up to implement road safety measures, including setting up of trauma care centres and installation of signals on busy intersections and circles on the National Highway. The Road Safety Council, the sources said, had taken steps to curb accidents and improve awareness among the public, including schoolchildren, on steps for road safety. Lessons on road safety and traffic rules had been introduced in school syllabi, and they would be made more topical and thought provoking. The Transport Department and the State Road Safety Council were regularly in touch with the Commissioner of Public Instruction in this regard, sources added. Another decision is the gradual introduction of speed governors in public transport vehicles, including those transporting schoolchildren.
All States agreed, in principle, to waive the tax on vehicles taking students on educational tours.
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