Kerala

Safe Kerala project remains in limbo

The Road Safety Vision Document.

The Road Safety Vision Document.  

Experts say official apathy, lack of political will delay project

The Safe Kerala project, rolled out by the State government in 2017 envisaging revolutionary changes in the vehicular traffic and safety systems, remains in limbo as its execution part has been inordinately delayed allegedly owing to official apathy and lack of political and official will, according to road safety experts.

P.D. Sukumaran, former Deputy Transport Commissioner, told The Hindu that though the project presented enormous possibilities, many of the law-enforcing officials appear not familiar with the existing laws of traffic regulations.

The initiative was taken by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan taking a cue from the successful Sabarimala Safe Zone (SSZ) project.

Broader vision

SSZ nodal officer since its inception in 2012 P.D. Sunilbabu, who submitted the Road Safety Vision Document to the government in June 2017, says the project envisages a broader vision to make Kerala a safe and secure State of law-abiding citizens by 2020.

With proper planning and concerted efforts, the project could be implemented with great success.

The vision document lays stress on the importance of making people properly aware of the need to develop civic sense and a constructive mindset to follow the rules of the land.

It proposes a coordinated team work by personnel attached to the departments of Motor Vehicles, Police, Fire and Rescue, Revenue, Public Works, Education, and Health.

More agencies such as paramilitary forces, Airports Authority of India, and Forest Department could be added to the stakeholder list as and when required.

Mr. Sukumaran says the road safety aspects have to be addressed in a holistic manner by providing safer roads, imparting proper training to drivers and ensuring effective management of vehicular traffic. Though the State Road Safety Authority came into force in 2007, Kerala is yet to fix the authority of its different stakeholders.

Recruitment

The government had recruited 10 Regional Transport Officers, 65 motor vehicle inspectors and 187 assistant motor vehicle inspectors exclusively for the project two years ago, said Mr. Sunilbabu.

“Once implemented, the Safe Kerala team will effectively control and regulate the State’s vehicular traffic round the clock. As many as 85 patrolling teams of the Motor Vehicles Department and 46 highway patrolling teams of the Kerala Police will cover more than 10,000 km of road distance on a daily basis. The State is also expected to get an annual revenue worth not less than ₹400 crore by way of compounding fee and penalty,” Mr. Sunilbabu says.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 12:46:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/safe-kerala-project-remains-in-limbo/article30785858.ece

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