In a bid to strengthen multiple stakeholder sensitisation effort towards environment and road/vehicular safety, the Society for Automotive Fitness & Environment (SAFE), a SIAM initiative, conducted the 22nd edition of its ‘SAFE Annual Convention 2021’ on September 17, on a virtual platform.
With the theme of ‘Environment & Road Safety: Enforcement & Compliance’, the convention witnessed the participation of policymakers and bureaucrats from the Central and state governments as well as the industry leaders, scholars and experts on the subject.
The inaugural session, led by Mr Rajesh Menon, Director General, SIAM, read out a message by the Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Mr Nitin Jairam Gadkari. The minister said that road safety and environment were the needs of the hour and every stakeholder should come forward to resolve it.
Mr Menon said, “Together SAFE and SIAM are working with the Government, transport departments, traffic polices NGOs, private sector, students & academicians, and other stakeholders towards the 5Es of education, enforcement, engineering, environment, and emergency care. We need to be consistently improvising the efforts.”
In his opening remark, Mr Prashant K Banerjee, Executive Director, SIAM, said “While the road safety efforts have gain substantial momentum during Road Safety Week and Road Safety month, but considering the requirement it should become a daily affair. Hence, under the leadership of SAFE and SIAM the activities should continue around the year. We are also launching the SAFE Annual Report capturing all the efforts initiated and conducted by the SAFE in last one year.”
Guest of Honour, Mr KC Gupta, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, said, “We account for 11 pc of road deaths in the entire world although we have only 1 pc of world vehicles in India. The US has 4.6 times higher road accidents than India, but when it comes to number of deaths due to road accidents, their fatalities is 25 pc of India. However, India is on the top. This is a major concern for all of us and it needs immediate intervention of all stakeholders.”
Mr Rajesh Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary – Transport, Government of Uttar Pradesh, said “The matter of road accidents and fatalities cannot be resolved by enforcement solely. There are many factors responsible for these avoidable deaths like, road qualities, safety measures in vehicles, etc. Every state has to device a specific policy to eradicate the problem. The most trusted policy to do so is to enhance awareness.”
Elaborating upon impact of unsafe roads, Mr Anupam Shrivastava, President – SAFE, said, “Road accidents have direct impact on human capital. In 2019, India recorded 4,37,396 road accident cases with 1,54,732 fatalities. Apart from the enormous human toll, the road safety has a major economic impact.”
Followed by the inaugural session, the first panel discussion on ‘Strong Leadership by Enforcement Authority and improved Road Safety Management’ was graced by Mr KC Gupta and Mr Rajesh Kumar Singh.
The second session on ‘Contribution of Corporates & NGOs in Protecting Environment & Road Safety’ had experts debate upon the role of companies and civil society in ensuring adherence to road safety measures.
The third panel discussion had experts discussing the ‘Latest Development on Air Quality Improvement’. They mentioned how leapfrogging to BS-VI was a landmark step undertaken by the Government and the industry.