New Delhi: Lashing out at regional transport offices (RTOs), Union Minister Nitin Gadkari termed them as the most corrupt in the country and said they indulge in loots bigger than those of dacoits of Chambal.
"RTO is the most corrupt organisation in the country.
They are indulged in loot surpassing even what the dacoits did in the forests of Chambal," Road, Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said today while giving vent to his anger over large scale corruption at RTOs.
Peeved at delay in implementation of the new motor law, he said once the Road Transport and Safety Bill is enacted, it will reform the entire sector.
The vested interests opposed to transparency and computerisation in the transport sector are against the new bill and "I am pained to say" that RTO officials have provoked ministers in the states to oppose the bill, he said at the Jagran Forum of Dainik Jagran here.
"I feel guilty conscious... Nowhere driving licences can be obtained so easily as in India. Thirty per cent of these are bogus licences," he said adding that the racket by RTOs was behind opposition to the Bill and was behind the propaganda that the Centre would infringe upon their rights.
The states are on board now and once the new law is enacted, it will change the transport sector with electronic driving licensens, online permits and other reforms, he said.
The Bill incorporates the global best practices and provides for the creation of a National Road Safety and Traffic Management Authority to look after all issues related to vehicle regulation and road safety.
It also seeks to come down heavily on traffic offenders and proposes steep penalties of up to Rs 3 lakh along with a minimum 7-year imprisonment for death of a child in certain circumstances, besides huge fines for driving violations.
Gadkari said the government was committed to bringing transparency, e-governance, corruption-free and electronic system and appeals to all political parties in the country to extend cooperation and bring this RTO Raj to an end as this is extortion whether in Madhya Pradesh or Chhattisgarh.
"I want to change the transport system. My bill is pending with Cabinet for the last eight months. Prime Minister tells me I am creating new controversy by this Bill as states are shouting their rights are encroached. PM has asked for states consent," he said and added that he has sent clearcut messages to states that their rights would not be encroached upon.
"I feel guilty conscious. Five lakh accidents take place in the country in which three lakh become handicapped and 1.5 lakh are killed. My leg was fractured at four places in the becon-light vehicle. My Secretary lost his child. I am responsible for the accidents, my road engineering is responsible," Gadkari said.
The minister said all traffic related problems pertaining to the national capital will be addressed in two years while the Rs 13,000 crore projects, the foundation stone of which was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month would be completed within 400 days.
Land acquisition was a problem for the Eastern Peripheral Expressway and Western Peripheral Expressway but a meeting of the concerned officials including Haryana Government and the NHAI was convened and they have been asked to expedite work.
The initial target for the projects was two-and-a-half years, he said adding the Prime Minister by the month-end would lay foundation stone for the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, work on which will begin before January 26 next year.
"Once completed Delhi to Meerut journey will be completed in 40 minutes instead of the present three hours," he said adding that this would be an access-controlled 14-lane expressway.
He said work was on to identify accident spots besides correcting the faulty designs of roads including no underpasses or overbridges.
"It is going to be mandatory to build trucks cabins as airconditioned to provide respite to the drivers," he said.
On odd-even formuala of Delhi government, he said the subject falls on the concurrent list and Delhi Ministers had met him.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had held talks for decongestant Delhi and the Centre is extending help to the state government.
He said 21 cabinet decisions have been taken for the transport sector only ever since the new government came and most of the Rs 3.8 lakh crore worth projects have been rolled out.
He said the road building pace which has reached to 18 km a day at present from 2 km when the new government took over and added that the target is to achieve the capacity of building 30 km of roads a day by March.
He said projects worth Rs one lakh crore have been awarded while another set of projects worth Rs 50,000 crore would be awarded by March.