Assam transport minister Chandra Mohan Patowary virtually chaired the meeting of State Road Safety Council with all the stakeholders and other departments on Tuesday.

The minister directed them to take steps to control and reduce the road accidents and resultant fatalities to save precious lives.

The minister called upon the stakeholders to involve local community volunteers to save the lives of accident victims by providing necessary help during the golden hour.

In this regard, the DTOs have already started engaging local youth and train them as Path Suraksha Mitra.

It may be noted that road fatalities in the State are on a declining trend since January and the minister emphasized strict enforcement to further bring down the numbers.

For the first time, road accident fatalities have seen a decline of eight per cent during January to March, 2020 as compared to the same period of 2019.

Likewise, road accident fatalities declined by 27 per cent during January to June, 2020 as compared to same period of 2019. During April to June, there was a decline of 51 per cent, however, this was more due to lockdown.

Patowary asked the Health Department to strengthen trauma care facilities, Police and enforcement officials to conduct extensive drives against traffic violations especially over speeding, drunken driving and underage driving.

The road owning agencies – NHAI, NHIDCL and PWD – were also directed to install proper signages and take up all traffic calming measures, especially in accident vulnerable areas and black spots.

Since highest number of accidents has occurred on National Highways and in districts of Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup (Rural), Barpeta, Nagaon and Goalpara, the transport minister directed the respective DTOs to take all necessary road safety measures.

Regional Officer, NHAI assured the State Road Safety Council that flyover construction work at Lokhra, Basistha, Boragaon and Garchuk on Guwahati bypass would commence by December 2020.

Flyover work at Kathiatoli, Borghat Rotary, Demow and Raha (Nagaon District), Road over Bridge at Jagiroad (Morigaon District), two flyovers near Bongaiagon Refinery would commence by October, 2020.

The Road Safety Council decided that the Lead Agency on Road Safety would be strengthened by providing full time staff from all stakeholders departments.

The Lead Agency would engage technical consultants and knowledge partners to collect and analyse scientific data on accidents and establish a Road Accident Data Management System.

The Agency would also provide necessary road safety equipment and conduct intensive awareness campaigns to bring mass awareness on road safety, traffic rules and safety measures.

Meanwhile, Transport Department has already started the process of filling up of vacancies so that sufficient staff is available to ensure enforcement of motor vehicle laws and road safety in the State.

Dr K K Dwivedi, commissioner and secretary, Transport Department; Adil Khan, commissioner of Transport and other senior officials were present in the virtual Road Safety Council meeting.

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