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The Supreme Court Monday reproached the Centre and state governments for what it called their ‘chalta hai’ (nonchalant) approach towards taking measures for road safety and to reduce road fatalities.
A bench led by Justice Madan B Lokur expressed strong displeasure at governments tackling the issue of road safety in a casual manner and questioned their “indifference” to the people losing lives in road accidents.
The court also took exception to the fact that a meeting on road safety, which was convened by the Secretary, Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways on September 2, had in attendance junior officials to represent states instead of the Secretaries of transport ministries concerned .
“This shows how serious the states are…this is the ‘chalta hai’ attitude. Will you tomorrow send a peon to simply pass around the files,” the bench questioned the counsel of the Centre and the state governments.
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The court agreed with an argument made by advocate Gaurav Agrawal, who has been appointed as amicus curiae in the 2012 PIL relating to road safety, that the blame game between the Centre and states must end and they must work jointly to prevent loss of lives.
Agrawal pointed out that an amount of Rs 600 crore had been earmarked by the Centre for road safety measures, but there was no detailed plan as to how this money was to be utilised.
At this, the court asked the government to inform how the amount of Rs 600 crore earmarked for the years 2016-17 is proposed to be spent and whether any of that amount has been spent or not and for what purpose.
The bench also asked the ministry to examine why thousands of people had not received the compensation from insurance companies despite their kin dying in road mishaps.