“Guys in swanky cars” are the most unruly drivers, Tourism Minister K J Alphons said on Thursday while talking of unsafe roads which lead to around 1.5 lakh road fatalities in the country every year. Inaugurating a two-day conference on ‘Safer Road Transportation to promote National Tourism’ , he said while it was a good idea to train taxi drivers on safe practices , it was important to train people driving expensive automobiles on streets.
“Very often I have noticed that it is the guys in swanky cars who are the most unruly of all and we blame taxi drivers. In fact Goodyear (which along with the Institute of Road Traffic Education has initiated the road safety programme) should start training millionaires first. “We think that once we have a swanky car we own the whole world, we have the right to run over people sleeping on footpaths, of course there are lawyers who will manipulate the facts and bring in a poor guy who will say he was driving…we have seen many famous cases in India. We all need to change,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.
He further stated that the change should begin with ‘big people’ and questioned the logic behind the security provided to him as minister. “Who wants to kill the poor tourism minister of the country? A lot of this is a sense of self importance. Yes, there are people who need to be protected the prime minister, the president, vice-president, home minister…their security cannot be compromised,” Alphons said, adding that he is ’embarrassed’ to be seen driving around with an escort.
The minister also stressed on the need for developing better and safer roads to attract more global tourists. “Better and safer roads in the country can help double our tourists in India in the next three years. About ten million international tourists visited India in 2017. Straightening Infrastructure and improving connectivity will bring more confidence among tourists to come to India, ” he said.
Apart from improving road infrastructure we need to be more tourist friendly and hospitality has to be in our DNA as it is in tourist destinations like Thailand, he said. The minister also launched a “Tourist Felicitation guide ‘ for information of tourists as well as “code of practice for Taxi operators in India on the occasion.
Over 100 road safety experts, professionals, government organisations and agencies active in road transport and tourism, transport officers from various states and UN officials are taking part in the two-day conference. The conference is being organised by the Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE) in Association with the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) and Union Ministry of Tourism and culture along with Goodyear’s CSR initiative ‘Safer Roads-Safer You’.