Afroz Alam Sahil, BeyondHeadlines
New Delhi: The Global Status Report on Road safety 2018, released by World Health Organisation (WHO), reveals that annual road crash fatalities in India are almost 3 lakhs, the highest in the world. Despite this alarming reminder, the Government of India is not serious regarding Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2017.
Recently, WHO organised an event in Le Meridien in New Delhi, Parliamentarian Roundtable on Road Safety Legislation, Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2017. It was attended by three Parliamentarians from the opposition and no representative from the ruling party attended this policy dialogue.
Rajya Sabha MP, Javed Ali Khan who is also a member of Select Committee said that there is no hindrance from the opposition side on this Bill. Now it is up to the will of Government.
“This is important to see the priority of Government which is more interested in triple talaq than people’s life.” he said.
Today, a coalition of road safety organizations have called upon the Road Transport and Highways Minister, Gadkari, to take urgent steps to ensure the listing and passage of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2017 in the currently ongoing winter session of Parliament.
While Rajya Sabha, where the Bill is pending, has been largely non-functional due to disruptions by some opposition MPs, road safety activists have bemoaned the apathy of the Government in trying to reach an agreement to make sure the Bill is tabled.
“What is most troubling is that more than half-way through the session the Bill has not even been listed once”, said Piyush Tewari of SaveLIFE Foundation.
The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill is seen as a much-needed fix for the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 whose outdated provisions are failing to ensure strong enforcement and deterrence of egregious traffic violations.
The Bill has been passed in the Lok Sabha but is stalled in the Rajya Sabha. The opposition has demanded that Mr Gadkari should clarify the stand of Government on many of contentious clauses that relate to the privatization of public transport and what are seen as a dilution of State rights and a potential revenue loss for the State exchequer. However, the Minister was conspicuously absent when the Bill was tabled for discussion in the Monsoon session of the Parliament and has since been silent on the issue.
It is believed that without the support and push by the Minister, the Bill will not pass in this session and thus lapse. In that case, it will be a big blow to the cause of road safety. Now it is upon Mr Gadkari to deliver on his promise to the Nation to make the country’s roads safer by ensuring the passage of this bill in this session of Parliament.