Declaring a zero-tolerance approach with regard to road safety, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday constituted a three-member Lead Group to formulate a plan of action for targeted spending of the Road Safety Fund, to further reduce the accident rate in the state, where fatalities have come down by nearly 16% over the past one year.

Though the state had reported the steepest annual decline in deaths caused by road mishaps over a 10-year period, the Chief Minister made it clear that road accidents need to be further curtailed to realize his government’s vision of making Punjab accident-free.

The 3-member Lead Group that will look into ways to ensure that the Fund money is spent judiciously would comprise the Home Secretary, the Transport Secretary and ADGP, an official spokesperson disclosed after a meeting of the Punjab Road Safety Council, chaired by the Chief Minister. An amount of Rs.20 crore is available under the Fund this year.

During the meeting, the Chief Minister took serious note of the traffic violations that trigger accidents on the road and ordered stringent action against vehicles found moving without proper tail lights. Registration of such vehicles should be cancelled, he said, adding that even tractor trolleys needed to adhere to this rule.

The Chief Minister directed the Council to focus on automated checking of over-speeding, and also suggested e-challaning in such cases, as well as cases of drunken driving and other traffic violations. Till the automatic speed barriers are installed, strict enforcement of speeding laws should be ensured by the traffic police and other agencies tasked with maintaining discipline on the roads, he said.

The Chief Minister asked the traffic department to keep a close tab through special drives in urban areas to check the trend of over-speeding and drunken driving.

Pointing out that Highway trauma centres had been sanctioned in this budget for the state, the Chief Minister said more private universities should be encouraged to start ambulance services to be placed strategically along the highways.

Captain Amarinder Singh asked the officers to launch a massive public awareness campaign for sensitizing the general public to obey traffic rules and avoid traffic violations. He also asked them to ensure mass participation of the people, especially youngsters, in this campaign to inculcate a traffic sense amongst them. Special camps for students should be organised in educational institutions especially in schools, he stressed.

The Chief Minister also suggested that habitual offenders of traffic violations be punished severely as a deterrent for others to check traffic indiscipline.

Detailing the steps taken by the Council to bring down the fatalities over the last one year, officials apprised the meeting that, under the Action Plan for 2017, 400 accidental black spots had been identified across the state. Of these, 150 had been improved, with the Punjab Police working jointly with PWD Punjab to identify and improve all locations.

In a presentation on ‘Road Safety Scenario’ in Punjab made by ADGP (Traffic) S.S. Chauhan, it was pointed out that a decentralised, data-led approach had been adopted to monitor each district from Road Safety and Accident pattern aspects. Special drives were being undertaken in urban areas on over-speeding and drunken driving, and marked improvement had been seen in Helmet and Seat Belt enforcement, said Chauhan.

The presentation showed that in 2017, the total number of reported accident cases in the state were 5997, which resulted in 4278 causalities – a decline of 15.7% over 2016. The number of people seriously injured in 2017 stood at 4024. In 2017, Highway Patrol Vehicles & Ambulances saved 3951 lives across the state through prompt evacuation and first aid service.

Pertinently, 63 Highway Patrol Vehicles, 17 Cranes, 12 Recovery Vans and 18 Ambulances are stationed at 6 sensitive points on the State and National Highways. Additionally, 125 private ambulances belonging to NGOs are also running in co-ordination with the Police and District Administration.

Prominent amongst those present in the meeting were Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Chief Principal Secretary to CM Suresh Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) N. S. Kalsi, Principal Secretary Finance Anirudh Tewari, Principal Secretary Transport Sarvjit Singh, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh, Secretary Education Krishan Kumar, Additional State Transport Commissioner MK Arvind Kumar, Members of Punjab Road Safety Council Harman Singh Sidhu and Rahul Verma. Apart from these, Dr. Preeti from Director Health Services, Coordinator Road Safety Manmohan Luthra and Chief Engineer Punjab Road & Bridges Development Board Mukesh Goyal were also present.


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