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Empowered Group of State Transport Ministers formed to advise on road policy issues



Empowered Group of State Transport Ministers formed to advise on road policy issues 

Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Shri Nitin Gadkari has announced formation of an Empowered Group of State Transport Ministers to advise on policy issues to make the country’s transport sector modern, efficient and transparent. The Empowered Group will be headed by Shri Yunus Khan, the PWD and Transport Minister of Rajasthan. Shri Gadkari made this announcement while addressing the 16th meeting of the National Road Safety Council and 37th meeting of the Transport Development Council in New Delhi today. Speaking on the occasion he said that several state road transport corporations are incurring huge losses and the problem has to be addressed by developing an integrated approach for transport sector in the country. Shri Gadkari said that the centre does not want to encroach upon the rights of the states; it rather wants that the revenues of the states should increase. 


Emphasizing on need to improve road safety in the country, Shri Gadkari said that 720 black spots have been identified on National Highways across the country and Rs. 11,000 crore have been earmarked to take remedial steps in this regard. He said that presently about 5 lakh accidents take place in the country in which about 1.5 lakh people die every year. The target is to reduce accidents by 50% in next five years. He said that to tackle the problem of traffic jams and accidents there is need for a Road Traffic Control system on the lines of Air Traffic Control and River Traffic Control which will use satellite based technology. 


About strengthening the network of National Highways Shri Gadkari said that the total length of National Highways is planned to be increased to 2 lakh kms from the present 96000 kms. He added that a number of access controlled expressways are also coming up in the country. 

On the issue of increasing pollution Shri Gadkari emphasized on promoting the use of environment friendly fuels such as electricity, Ethanol, bio-CNG and bio-diesel. He said that from 1st April, 2020 Euro-VI emission norms will be made mandatory and states should prepare for the transition. He further announced that e-tolling will be introduced at all toll plazas across the country. With this, vehicles will not be required to stop at the toll plazas for payment of toll. This will cut down the huge pile up of vehicles at these plazas, which causes loss of about 1.5 % to 2 % to the GDP and also a lot of pollution.

Shri Gadkari further said that 1200 spots have been identified for developing as Highways Villages. These spots will have amenities like resting places, food plazas, refueling stations, shopping malls and helipads. This will help generate employment for neighbouring villages and also create a market for the produce from these villages.

The minister called upon the states to develop bus ports on the lines of airports. He said states may take these initiatives under PPP modes.

Speaking on the occasion Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Shri Pon. Radhakrishnan said that this joint meeting of the council is an opportunity for evolving policies in transport sector for efficient and modern transport system. Expressing concern over road accidents he said privilege to drive should not be taken for granted. He specifically called for curbing overloading of the vehicles.

Road Transport & Highways Secretary Shri Sanjay Mitra said that engineering solutions and awareness together can minimize the number of road accidents. 
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NHAI Takes Measures For Improving The Functioning Of Toll Plazas 
Taking a serious note of complaints about lack of uniformity in operations and misbehaviour by the staff of toll plazas, the National Highway Authority of India has issued a “Code of Conduct” for the Toll Plaza operators. NHAI contractors/ concessionaires are mandatorily to comply with the policy guidelines and standards prescribed by NHAI. A uniform dress code has also been issued, to be used through the country for the staff manning toll plazas. NHAI has also circulated a standardised format for display of toll rates/concessions/exemptions in the bill boards that are required to be mandatorily put up by concessionaires/ contractors for road users.

From now onwards, every member of the toll plaza staff will wear a navy blue uniform with adequate features for safety and easy identification. The concessionaires/contractors will ensure that the toll plaza personnel are given a minimum training of seven days to acquaint them with the do’s and don’ts prescribed by NHAI, behave with courtesy and help road users in case of any emergency. The personnel are to carry the certificate of training to be produced for verification during surprise checks by NHAI. Concessionaires/ contractors must maintain a register of the plaza staff including details of their pre-job training.

The user fee (Toll) receipts will be issued in the standard prescribed template bearing details of the concessionaire/contractor, toll plaza location, helpline No., ambulance contact No., crane contact No. etc.

The NHAI has issued specific instructions for all toll plazas to be adequately illuminated, displaying standardized boards with the name of user fee collection contractor, name of toll plaza, user fee rates, etc. clearly visible from prescribed distance.

Chairman, NHAI has directed strict compliance of these directives. 


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Traffic Growth at International Container Transhipment Terminal, Vallarpadam

The total container traffic at International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT), Vallarpadam has exceeded 3,66,376 TEUs over last year, 42 days ahead of completion of the current financial year .  
The extrapolated container traffic for the current financial year is 4,15,821 TEUs. i.e a growth of 13.5 % over last year.  The traffic growth at ICTT has been varying between -1 to 8 % during the last five years and the current trend in growth hints at a turnaround for the project. The terminal could attract more containers from Coimbatore area thanks to the efforts to ease procedures at the check posts at Walayar and on the route from Walayar to Vallarpadam. The commencement of weekly train by CONCOR from Irugur (Coimbatore) to Vallarpadam and back has also helped attracting more business to the terminal.  

 ICTT – Growth Pattern
Year
Traffic (TEUs)
Growth in Traffic over Previous Year (TEUs)
Growth in Traffic over Previous Year (%)
2015-16*
extrapolated
415821
49445
13.50
2014-15
366376
20172
5.83
2013-14
346204
11279
3.37
2012-13
334925
-2128
-0.63
2011-12
337053
24864
7.96





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