Yesterday, while speaking at a virtual session on ‘Role of Corporates in Arresting Road Fatalities’, organized by the FICCI, Union Industries and Transport Minister, Nitin Gadkari, said that the Government intends to cut road accident deaths by 50% by the year 2024.
While speaking at the virtual session, Gadkari also said that to achieve this it was needed to identify ‘black spots’ in every state, district and city in the country and that the government was spending Rs 14,000 borrowed from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to remove these black spots.
Gadkari did not elicit at length what these ‘black spot’s are, but one eternal black spot that is visible is the competence, quality of the contractor as well as the role of the local politician in the contractor getting and implementing his contract.
There is a reason why our roads are in a bad shape, full of pot-holes, ditches and in sum place roads barely are visible. Most of our contractors are firstly of poor quality and at best their road building skills are rudimentary, so one can’t expect quality in the first place.
More importantly, it is the nexus between such incompetent contractors and local politicians that makes things even worse. The contractor wants to make easy money for sub-standard work, and the politicians wants a cut so he gives the contract to the one who gives him the biggest cut.
And it does not end there. Due to this nexus, poor quality of roads are delivered which need to be fixed again. That is why we see our roads being fixed, then rapidly deteriorating and then being rebuilt and the cycle goes on and on.
If Mr Gadkari is truly serious about reducing road deaths in the country, he should start first by fixing the black spot called ‘contractor-politician’ nexus. Everything else will fall in place.