Nepal | July 11, 2020

Form Road Safety Council: House panel

Himalayan News Service
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The Road Accident Reduction Study Sub-committee formed by Development and Technology Committee of the House of Representatives has recommended that the Government of Nepal form the Road Safety Council to curb the rising number of road injuries and fatalities in the country.

The five-member sub-committee is headed by lawmaker Ganesh Kumar Pahadi.

Other members of the sub-committee include lawmakers Gauri Shankar Chaudhary, Durga Paudel, Yagyaraj Sunuwar and Rangamati Shahi.

The sub-committee report submitted to the parliamentary panel yesterday said there was urgent need to form the high-powered council to prevent road accidents.

It suggested that the 19-member council be chaired by the Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport. Other proposed members are ministers of Physical Infrastructure and Transport of all provinces, secretary of the Ministry of Finance, secretary of MoPIT, secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, secretary of the Ministry of Health and Population, secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, chief of Traffic Police Directorate, experts and transport entrepreneurs, among others.

“Road safety is a broad issue which can only be addressed by a dedicated body of the government. It is the need of the hour to effectively implement Nepal Road Safety Action Plan (2020-2030) being developed by the MoPIT through such a dedicated body by mandating it to prepare and implement road safety plans,” the report stated.

The report warned that involvement of various agencies in road safety management had made them less responsible towards reducing road accidents. Though Department of Transport Management, Department of Roads and Nepal Police have been overseeing road safety affairs, lack of coordination among them has led to duplication of efforts and misunderstandings about their responsibilities only to aggravate the situation. They often pass the buck to one another for failure to curb road fatalities.

The report has also indicated various reasons for road accidents such as poor mechanical condition of vehicles, operation of old vehicles without proper maintenance, use of substandard spare parts, poor road engineering, tendency to transport goods and passengers beyond capacity, government failure to fix potholes from time to time, construction of roads without footpath, lack of retaining walls along roads vulnerable to landslides, absence of crash barriers on the highways, negligence of drivers, issuance of licence to young persons and lack of public awareness about traffic rules.

Other aspects that are responsible for accidents include road and footpath encroachment, stray cattle, lack of effective monitoring and inspection of road safety measures, animosity between drivers and traffic police, non-implementation of scientific system in licence distribution, lack of vehicle fitness centres, syndicate in transport and lenient punishment for traffic rule violators.

The sub-committee has also suggested that the government fully dispose vehicles that are more than 20 years old, besides addressing all the reasons for road accidents.

According to the report, road fatalities are on the rise every passing year. It said as many as 2,779 persons were killed in the fiscal 2019-20 (13,366 accidents) compared to 2,087 in 2018-19 (10,178 accidents).

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 29, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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