Nitin Gadkari: Around 60-65 NHAI toll plazas affected due to farmers protest
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) suffered a revenue loss of Rs.2,731.32 crores due to the farmers’ protests in Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan. This was informed to Parliament by Road, Transport, and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari detailing the loss of collection from toll plazas due to farmers’ protest against the three controversial farm laws. Replying to a written question in the Rajya Sabha, Road Minister Nitin Gadkari said the protest started affecting toll collection from October 2020.
He said initially the toll plazas in Punjab were made non-operational by agitating farmers in October 2020.”It eventually spread to neighboring states of the entire Haryana and parts of Rajasthan. Overall 60 to 65 NH toll plazas were affected due to farmer agitation resulting in loss of toll collection of Rs.2,731 crore,” the minister said.
Gadkari said the Ministry and NHAI have made continuous efforts to operationalize the affected toll plazas through active communication with the state administration, the help of toll collecting agencies, etc. Replying to a separate question, Gadkari said the Ministry has set a target of construction of 12,000 km of National Highways during the Financial Year 2021-22, under various projects, out of which some are targeted to be completed in 2021.
Road accidents, deaths
The number of pedestrians killed in road accidents in India during the calendar year 2020 fell to 23,483. Replying to a question Gadkari said a total of 25,858 pedestrians were killed in road accidents during the calendar year 2019. The Minister added that while the total number of persons killed in road accidents in the calendar year 2020 stood at 1,31,714, that in the calendar year 2019 was at 1,51,113. Gadkari said the ministry obtains information and data on accidents and death from state police.
Elaborating further, the Minister said that to prevent road accidents and save lives, the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act, 2019 passed by Parliament, focuses on road safety, and includes, inter-alia, hike in penalties for traffic violations, electronic monitoring of the same and enhanced penalties for juvenile driving, among others.
“However, no study on why pedestrian deaths happen is available or has been conducted. Generally, such deaths occur due to pedestrians not following norms laid down for walking along roads or trying to crossroads during traffic. Accidents also occur due to over-speeding vehicles,” he said.
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