Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bribery on Indian Roads

Bribe Amount Close to Rs.22,000 Crore every year

The alarming levels and magnitude of corruption on Indian Roads, by the concerned enforcement agencies is being widely talked about and an open secret. On Indian Roads, the Truckers often pay bribe for lack of proper and valid documents, overloading, violations including rash driving. A study conducted by Centre for Media Studies across a dozen major transport hubs covering over 1,200 truck drivers, is reported to have revealed that in 60% cases, the Police and the Officials from Enforcing Agencies extort money from Truckers by stopping them without giving a reason. It is also revealed that around 90% of the bribe goes to Policemen and Transport department personnel. The study estimated the total bribe amount on Roads to be close to Rs. 22,000 crore every year.

Modus Operandi

According to the findings of the study, which was conducted at transport hubs including Ludhiana, Delhi, Ahmadabad, Indore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Vijayawada, Bangalore and Chennai, illegal tokens, passes and stickers valid for a period of month are issued by these government agencies to allow vehicles to pass without checks. In many cases, the concerned government officials are found to use holograms on bribe receipts to distinguish "original" from "fake" and the code words like "April Fool, May Day and Independence Day" and mobile phones to convey the "links".

Harassment by Police & Transport Depts.

The findings — based on the surveyors interaction with drivers, fleet operators and law enforcing agencies — also exposed how trucks and commercial heavy vehicles were the punching bags for enforcement agencies. Drivers claimed that in 12% cases, authorities challan Truckers even when there is no overloading. They said harassment by police and transport department officials were the two major irritants for drivers on roads. While 77% of them felt Police were the biggest irritant, 73% said it was harassment by Transport Department officials.

Bribe for Non- Compliance & Speed Money

However, Drivers and Truck operators admitted that they paid bribe for failing to meet norms or to get things done quickly. They conceded that the major reasons for paying bribe at transport department offices were getting registration and fitness certificates besides getting and renewing permits. On roads, truckers often pay bribe for lack of proper and valid documents, overloading, violations including rash driving. They also said that by paying bribe, they avoided hassles in physical verification of goods.

Some Facts

* In 60% of cases, officials avoid giving reason for stopping vehicle, but demand cash

* Corruption share: Police (45%), RTO (43%) & Others (12%)

* Irritants on road: Harassment by police (77%) & RTO (73%), Wait at inter-state borders (58%), outside towns/cities for no entry (55%)



Saturday, June 7, 2014

Lack of Road Safety

Every day hundreds of people are dying in Road Accidents but they get unnoticed or ignored.The sudden and tragic death  of Shri Gopinath Munde, Hon'ble Minister for Rural Development, GOI,   in the Road Accident right in New Delhi, highlighted  lack of Road Safety on Indian roads

The Planning Commission Member, Shri B.K. Chaturvedi while inaugurating a regional conference on "Road Safety Strategy" organized by International Road Foundation (IRF). In October 2011, is reported to have said that Road Accident deaths and injuries cost India at least Rs.1 lakh crore per year, and the Govt. aims to reduce them by 50% by 2020.

India seems to have dubious distinction of registering maximum number of road accident deaths annually, with reported death of 125,660 people and another 515,458 receiving severe or minor injuries in Road Accidents during 2009. An estimated 160,000 people were understood to have been killed in Road accidents in 2010.

The experts on Road Safety feel that the number of accidents and deaths in road accidents reported are less than the actual figures due to lack of scientific data collection. The Road Accidents are serious issues, but little attention is being paid to this. Experts also feel that while annually the Nation loses almost 1.5% of its GDP on account of Road Accidents, not even10% of that amount is being spent to make our roads safe. While pushing construction of National Highways to accelerate infrastructure growth, the focus should also be on making Roads Safe.