New Delhi: The International Road Federation (IRF), a Geneva-based global road safety body, Tuesday welcomed the Indian government`s move allowing its MPs to spend their local area development fund for works related to constructing roads, pavements and cycle tracks.
In a circular issued to over half a dozen ministries, including urban development and railways, the statistics and programme implementation ministry has included 31 new works which MPs can take up using their fund for creating "durable community assets".
Some of these are construction of approach roads to railway stations and platforms, cattle crossings and provision for drinking water.
"IRF had been demanding this for long as bringing more works under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) will help improve fund availability for road safety-related projects, which need less budget but can save innocent lives," said KK Kapila, IRF chairman.
According to latest accident data of 2012, 473,000 traffic accidents were reported across the country. While over 440,000 of these were road accidents, 1,762 were railroad accidents.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data shows that 139,000 people died in road crashes while in rail-road accidents 1,808 people lost lives. Unmanned railway crossings are often the main reason for rail-road accidents.
MPLADS fund can also be utilized for providing playfields and sports facilities at village- and block-levels, laying of synthetic hockey and football turfs of permanent nature as per international standards, under-bridges at railway crossings, foot over-bridges for crossing railway tracks, road diversions, footpaths and pedestrian ways and segregated cycle tracks. All these activities are aimed at reducing accidents and fatalities.
"With the aim to make roads safe for pedestrians and cyclists, the development fund can also be used for construction of pedestrian ways, segregated lanes for non-motorized vehicles and rain water harvesting projects," said Kapila.
As per the circular, once the assets are created the local and state governments will be responsible for their maintenance.
MPLADS fund is a fund granted to every MP for development in his or her constituency area.
Each MP has the choice to suggest to the district collector for works to the tune of Rs.5 crore (Rs.50 million) per annum to be taken up in his/her constituency.