Panel calls for removing illegal checkpoints

NEW DELHI, APRIL 29. The Standing Committee of Parliament has taken a serious view of continuation of illegal checkpoints by local police and local bodies on national highways and asked the Ministry of Road Transport to take steps for their immediate removal and, if necessary, proceed against the defaulting States.

Observing that the checkpoints are illegal collection points for the local police and local bodies, the Committee noted that at these checkpoints the traffic was stopped and harassed. It wondered why the guidelines issued in this regard by the Ministry were not being implemented by the State Governments. In its latest report, the Committee has also suggested immediate action for removal of speed breakers from national highways as these were a major cause of accidents. ``It is much needed to remove all these speed breakers from the national highways.''

Reacting to the information that the checkpoints though not permitted under its guidelines had been growing despite its insistence for compliance with the States through regular communications, the Committee asked the Ministry to take action against the States which were violating the guidelines. It had recommended imposition of some financial penalty on the States violating the guidelines and failed to remove checkpoints and speed breakers from the national highways.

In view of the poor performance in Northeastern region despite the Ministry regularly allocating 10 per cent of the development fund to these States, the Committee approved of the system of direct payment introduced by the Centre to facilitate full use of the funds for development and maintenance of national highways.

The Committee asked the Ministry to frame some schemes for the region to help the contractors or public works departments of these States to procure hot-mix plants, boilers and any other related things which were needed in the construction of roads.

It was reported by the Ministry that allocation was made by the Centre regularly by providing 10 per cent of funds for the region to the States but without under a separate head. The condition in these States were so poor that they were not in a position to use their resources and claim reimbursement.

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