SC panel for financial autonomy to KRSA

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM The Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety has asked Kerala to ensure financial autonomy to the Kerala Road Safety Authority (KRSA) and release funds due to it from 2015 as per the Kerala Road Safety Authority Act.

The three-member committee headed by Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre also asked the State to set up a non-lapsable road safety fund under the Act provisions.

The State will also have to open a PLA (Personal Ledger Account) bank account in the name of the authority and frame rules and regulations with provisions to transfer funds to the account and administration thereof.

Road safety activities have been lagging behind as the exchequer owes ₹716.84 crore as arrears to the KRSA. The arrears comprise 50% of the compounding fee collected under Section 200 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and the one-time cess collected from all classes of motor vehicles. A one-time cess of ₹250 will have to be paid for heavy motor vehicles, medium vehicles ₹150, light vehicles ₹100, and two-wheelers ₹50.

From 2008, when the authority was constituted, to 2015 the government has contributed only ₹172 crore to the Kerala Road Safety Fund (KRSF) against the ₹552 crore due, resulting in arrears of ₹380 crore. From 2015 to 2019, the government had not paid even a single rupee to the KRSF. In 2019-20, ₹4 crore was provided. Thus, the arrears from the exchequer to the KRSF is ₹716.84 crore.

The committee issued the directive after reviewing road safety, accident statistics, and functioning of the KRSA with officials of the Transport Department and the KRSA.

The KRSA has been asked to prescribe standards of road safety for compliance with by the stakeholder department agencies and delegate powers, as it deems fit, to officers holding statutory provisions under the KRSA Act.

On the road safety front, the panel observed that the government and the KRSA should have done more to reduce fatalities. “Except the 3.6% reduction in 2017 and the lockdown effect in 2020, there was a consistent increase in fatalities in the State from 2014 to 2019 resulting in an overall increase of 10% during the five-year period,” the Chairman noted.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 5:57:10 AM |

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