Putting an end to the age old Regional Transport Offices (RTO), Bengal government decided to set up new State Road Safety Authority to curb road accidents. The state government also decided to take up a set of steps to check road accidents including placing of two new bills on safety of people in the December session of the Assembly.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in Nabanna on Tuesday that the RTOs will be abolished and the State Road Safety Authority will take up steps to check menace of road accidents that claims several lives every day.
The chairman of the authority will be the state’s chief secretary Basudeb Banerjee and secretaries of departments including Finance, Public Works Department, Transport, Urban Development and Panchayat will be the members of the authority.
Banerjee held a high level meeting in Nabanna to revive the present situation of the state in terms of road accidents. It may be mentioned that she had introduced the state wide “Safe Drive, Save Life” campaign a couple of months ago to ensure that people do not get killed due to road accidents.
Stating that reckless driving will not be tolerated, Banerjee said that a traffic norm violator will be booked on charges of murder “if situation suggests” that the person had killed someone purposefully by causing an accident. At the same time, driving and route permits will be cancelled if a person violates traffic norms thrice.
“A survey will be conducted to identify the black spots (accident prone areas) on highways. Watch towers, speed guns and surveillance cameras will be set up in those areas to monitor the movement of vehicles,” she said adding that they have planned to divide a wider road into lanes specified for different types of vehicles. There will be separate lanes for heavy trucks, cars, buses and motorbikes. There will also be a separate lane that will be left open for emergency purpose. No other vehicles will be allowed in the green corridor that will be called “Clean Lane”.
In a bid to develop proper infrastructure to reduce road accidents, the state government has decided to impose additional 5 per cent Transport Workers’ Welfare Cess on registration of vehicles. It will take up the cess to 15 per cent.
From now onwards the police will be working together with the transport department to ensure that only well trained drivers get driving license. The test drives to get driving license will be videographed.
Meanwhile, two bills will be prepared which will be placed in the December session of the Assembly. The bills will be prepared with an aim to ensure safety of people by reducing road accidents. Kolkata Police will be preparing the Public Safety and Development bill. The other bill will be prepared by the state Transport department.
Stating that taking someone life by causing an accident is a “criminal offence” the Chief Minister said action would be taken if someone dumps building material on road as it leads to many accidents. “While passing through the BBD Bag and Dharmatala area yesterday (Monday), I found many cars were being parked on sides of the road which is eating up the road space. I had a discussion with the Mayor Sovan Chatterjee and planned to build parkomats. The parkomats will be built in such a way that all sorts of vehicles including buses can be parked there,” she said.