The Kerala Road Safety Authority (KRSA) has got only Rs.84 crore out of Rs.174 crore due to it till date of the one-time cess that is being levied from motor vehicles and 50 per cent of the compounding fee for various offences committed by motorists.
In the current fiscal, the KRSA has not been given funds from the exchequer even after five months in spite of the allocation of Rs.34 crore in the 2013-14 budget. Confirming this to The Hindu on Sunday, a top official of the KRSA said efforts to get Rs.90 crore due to the authority had not been successful even though it was taken up at the highest level.
The KRSA had utilised the Rs.84 crore received from the exchequer over the years for road safety activities. “It would have come in handy for road safety at a time of rising number of road accident fatalities,” he said.
Heavy motor vehicles pay a one-time cess of Rs.250; medium motor vehicles Rs.150; light vehicles Rs.100; and two-wheelers Rs.50.
A whopping amount goes to the State treasury every day as compounding fee for offences committed by motorists ranging from not wearing helmets, seat belts to signal jumping. There is delay on part of the government to transfer funds from the exchequer to the KRSA despite taking it up at the highest level, the official said.
Over the years, Rs.16 crore had been given by the KRSA to the Motor Vehicles Department to organise road safety programmes, Rs.6.1 crore to the police to procure speed radars and traffic equipment, and Rs.19 crore to the Public Works Department for improvement of places where accident rate was high.
“The one-time cess is collected for new vehicles at the time of registration and goes directly to the treasury as in the case of the compounding fee for traffic offences.
“It is still not clear why the government is not keen on road safety and why it is reluctant to transfer the funds”, he added.
Incidentally, this is happening when the Road Safety Decade (2011-20), a United Nations programme, is being observed and the government has chalked out several measures to bring down road accidents to below 4,000 by December.
In 2012, 4,286 persons were killed and 26,037 grievously injured in 36,174 accidents.
In January-May period this year, 1,900 were killed and 11,000 injured in 15,717 accidents.
On an average, 11 persons are killed in a day in accidents on roads in the State.