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Himachal seek air ambulances and funds for road safety awareness campaign in hilly states

SHIMLA- In a meeting of Group of Ministers held in New Delhi on Thursday to address the issue of public transportation in hilly areas, Transport Minister of Himachal Pradesh G.S. Bali urged the Centre Govt. to provide air ambulance facility for evacuation of road accident victims in hilly areas. It will ensure timely medical aid to minimize the fatality rate in fatal road accidents, he said. There is a need to upgrade the road-technology and structuring the parameters to be designed with specific references to the hill areas.

Issues pertaining to the public transportation system and challenges prevailing in hill States were discussed along with the need to create awareness among the masses regarding the road safety measures. Educating school children should be focus of this campaign, suggested the group. NGOs and Civil Society Groups could also play pivotal role in this awareness campaign. Union Govt. was urged to provide sufficient funds to make this campaign more relevant.

There was a need to strengthen the road transport Undertakings of hill States and the Ministry should provide funds on priority basis so that comfortable transportation facility could be provided to the people of hilly areas and cases of possible accidents due to poor maintenance of vehicles could be avoided. There is also a need to provide common platform to issue permit particularly for hilly states such as Assam, Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya to facilitate the transporters and tourists as well.

The Group of Ministers also proposed highlight need of funds for construction of ropeways, GANDOLA and providing of helicopter services to deliver additional modes of transport which would also lead to enhanced road safety.

Sanjay Mitra, Secretary of National Highways, highlighted the guidelines of the Ministry issued for adopting road safety measures in the country. He said that 10% of allocated funds for road construction had been made compulsory to be spent on adopting road safety measures. It was also unanimously decided to create regional permit system in hilly States for a free movement of traffic.

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