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Alarmed by rising road accidents, Modi wants cashless treatment

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New Delhi: Shocked over one fatality every four minutes in road accidents in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said his government will soon implement a road safety policy and cashless treatment for accident victims.

In his monthly ‘Maan Ki Baat’ radio programme, Modi said: “The statistics on road accidents in our country are shocking. There is an accident every minute. And… there is a death every four minutes.”

In view of this, the government would soon introduce a Road Transport and Safety Bill in parliament and work to implement the National Road Safety Policy and a Road Safety Action Plan, he said.

The prime minister said there would soon be a nationwide toll free number 1033 to provide information on accidents across the country.

Official statistics show 15 to 16 people in road accidents in the country every hour or nearly 380 every day. The daily toll includes 16 children.

A total of 137,000 people became road accident victims in 2013.

The prime minister also said that development of the country’s northeast was not possible with officials sitting in Delhi. He vowed to depute officials to the region to find solutions to problems faced by the people.

“Is it possible to develop the northeast while sitting in Delhi? No. Officials will visit and see how it is to be done.

“The DoNER (Development of Northeastern Region) ministry has taken a significant decision to send teams of central government officials to the northeast and hold week-long camps there,” he said.

The ministry is responsible for planning, executing and monitoring the central government’s development schemes in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Mizoram, Sikkim and Meghalaya.

“These teams will hold camps in districts and villages, meet local officials, people’s representatives and citizens. They will listen to their problems and help the government to find their solutions.”

In his talk, Modi praised efforts made towards keeping India clean.

He congratulated government officials from Harda district in Madhya Pradesh for their ‘Malyudh’ (a sanitation programme).

“They have given a new meaning to ‘Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan’. A brother gifting his sister a toilet on ‘Raksha Bandhan’, and the one who does so becoming ‘brother number one’ has given a new direction to the (cleanliness) mission,” he said.

Speaking on issues like electricity, Modi said his government was committed to providing power to all villages.

“Whatever facilities are provided in cities, similar facilities are required for people in villages too if we have to develop our nation,” he said.

Modi also expressed concern that fewer students were taking up science at the higher education level.

“Out of 100 only one or two students take up science. It’s a cause of concern,” the prime minister said, adding that students must be encouraged to study the subject.

To mark Kargil Day on July 26, Modi paid tributes to soldiers killed in the 1999 Kargil war with Pakistan.

“Each and every Indian soldier fought bravely. I pay my respects to the soldiers who … fought for the country,” he said Baat” radio programme.

“The Kargil battle was not just fought on the borders… Every village, city and town made a contribution.”

(IANS)

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