Monday, Jul 04, 2022
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Opposition Demands More Budget For Road Maintenance; BJP Says 'Era Of Bad Roads' Ended

Participating in the discussions, Kalyan Banerjee (AITC) suggested that the government should come out with stringent laws to deal with overloading of vehicles as they create heavy traffic congestions.

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The Opposition in Lok Sabha on Wednesday pressed for increasing the budget for maintenance of roads and stringent laws to deal with overloading of vehicles, even as the BJP asserted that the "era of bad roads" has come to an end. Initiating a debate on demand for grants of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Congress member A R Reddy said India has only one per cent of the vehicles while it accounts for 11 per cent of road accidents globally. He said the government should increase the budget for maintenance of roads to prevent such accidents. He also criticised the government for not being able to attract private investments in the highways sector. Besides, Reddy demanded that the government speed up implementation of the Bharatmala Pariyojana.


Participating in the discussions, Kalyan Banerjee (AITC) suggested that the government should come out with stringent laws to deal with overloading of vehicles as they create heavy traffic congestions. A modern nation is built upon a smart and an efficient transportation system, he said, adding that this will require measures that can address problems ranging from infrastructure challenges to governance inefficiencies. A holistic traffic management approach is necessary for sustainable solution and an IT-enabled smart traffic management and transportation can be a game changer for the country, he said. "Kindly bring stringent laws under the motor vehicles act in respect of over burdening the trucks and vehicles...This is causing traffic congestion... (Bring) stringent, very stringent provisions," Banerjee said. He also said that officers from motor vehicles departments should be on the field to stop overloading.


DMK Member G S Pon asked the government to speed up the highway projects in Tamil Nadu. He said the Union finance minister made several announcements about highways in the budget, but did not talk about the completed projects. Jagdambika Pal (BJP) said the government has taken a series of measures to boost development of roads in the country. He said budget allocations have jumped significantly during the Modi government as compared to that in the UPA regime. Today India's road network is the second largest after the US in the world, he said, adding there was a significant increase in capital expenditure. Pal said during the UPA's time, per day road construction was only 11.7 km and now it has increased to over 37 km. "This budget should be passed with voice vote," he added.


BJD leader Pinaki Misra flagged the issue of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) debt. "The NHAI, which is the heart and soul of this ministry, its total debt stands at Rs 3,38,000 crore, which is almost 150 per cent more than the allocation in 2022-23, which is a very alarming position," Misra said. "How this debt is going to be redeemed is anybody's guess. I hope the ministry has some good answers for this," he said. BJP MP Ganesh Singh hailed the government's efforts of the ministry, saying till 2014, 91,287 km of roads had been constructed which had gone up to 1,41,190 km of roads. "The country is changing and the era of bad roads has come to an end," he asserted.  

PTI Inputs

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