The Centre has called upon all the state transport ministers and officials to work in tandem towards reducing road accidents and deaths by 50 per cent by the end of 2024.

Union Minister for Road, Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said the issue of road safety should not be taken lightly. Road accidents should be reviewed constantly and measures worked out to combat it. The Minister proposed training engineering students for conducting safety audits of the roads on the basis of which action can be taken by the Ministry.

In an interactive session with the state transport Ministers in Bengaluru on Thursday, State Transport and PWD Ministers raised their issues related to highway infrastructure and shared their problems and urged the Central Government to resolve them.

State Ministers who attended the session included Govindas Kounthujam (Manipur), Prafull Kumar Mallik (Odisha), Satpal Maharaj (Uttarakhand), Harbhajan Singh (Punjab), Bhajan Lal Jatav (Rajasthan), Samdup Lapcha (Sikkim), A.V. Velu (Tamil Nadu), Nilesh Kabra (Goa), Arvind Chauhan (Maharashtra).

Kounthujam said 90 per cent of the area are hilly and there are problems with land acquisition with regard to National Highway projects. "But we are trying to solve these problems and soon we will be able to get land," he said. He said we want to develop highway infrastructure at par with other states.

Talking about the issues of Sikkim, Samdup Lapcha said state faces resource crunch and tourism is the only source of economy. "We survive on tourism. It will be good if get an alternate road from Bankura to Sikkim, This will also be good in terms of security," he said.

Tamil Nadu Minister Velu spoke about the steps taken by the state government to make the state accident-free. "More than 300 engineers have been trained. We have also launched sensitization programme for school students in the state," he pointed out.

Talking about Uttarakhand, Satpal Maharaj said: "In view of incidents of landslides, which damage the highways, a landslide and mitigation centre has been set up to look for ways to minimize these damages," he said. Gadkari said he is getting full support from the Uttarakhand Government in the Char Dham Pariyojana.