Minister goes online to make highways safe

New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) To reduce the death toll in highway accidents, Minister of Road Transport and Highways C.P. Joshi Friday announced a slew of measures including stringent norms for issuing drivers’ licences, installation of cameras and cashless treatment to accident victims.

The announcements came as the minister for the first time interacted with people from all over the country on Google+ Hangout — a free video chat service from Google that enables both one-on-one and group chats.
“Every year 1.4 lakh people lose their lives due to accidents on our highways. If we can prevent these accidents, we can contribute three percent to our GDP (gross domestic product),” Joshi said.
The minister said a database on the lines of western countries to identify the exact cause of accidents would be set up and the process of issuing driver’s licence would be made stricter.
“A pilot project will be started soon on the Delhi-Jaipur highway wherein cashless and quick treatment would be provided to accident victims. We have already signed a pact with ICICI Lombard,” said Joshi adding that the project would be replicated across India soon.
In addition, cameras to monitor speed, street lights and a pan-India helpline for accident victims would be set up.
Joshi said the ministry was also in talks with commercial vehicle makers to install speed governors on trucks and buses.
Concluding the dialogue, the minister said the time had come “to go a step beyond parliamentary democracy and indulge in participative democracy” as he promised more of such online interactions.