Road accidents in Himachal claim 3479 lives in three years

Shimla: Drunken driving, human error, bad roads, weather conditions and mechanical failure were cited as the reasons for the heavy toll of 3479 deaths in roads accidents in the last three years in Himachal Pradesh.

Responding to a question by Anil Kumar and Yog Raj (both congress), transport minister Mohinder Singh let the Vidhan Sabha know during question hour that majority (97.84 %) of the accident were due to drunken driving and human error.

Only about 1.52 % accidents had occurred due to bad road conditions and 0.64 % due to mechanical failure, said the minister.

Detailing about the steps taken to reduce accident rates, he said that 536 black spots (accident prone sites) had been identified and were being improved. The minister said that so far 248 black spots had been improved and work on others was going on.

Other measures taken included banning use of mobile phones by drivers while at the steering wheel and ban on use of stereos in buses had been ordered.

Chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal let Prakash Chaudhary (Congress) know that Tirthan river in Kullu valley had been declared protected habitat for trout fish and no new power project were being allowed to come up on the Himalayan stream.

“Two hydro projects were approved on the river before the ban was imposed in 2004 and in case any project has been allotted later, the government will not hesitate to cancel them, he said adding that the government was even contemplating extending the ban to the tributaries of the Tirthan river.

He said that in last three years 269 mini and micro hydel projects had been approved, of which 250 had been given to Himachali entrepreneurs.


Work on Renuka Dam put on hold by National Green Tribunal

In response to a question by Harshwardhan (Congress), chief minister Dhumal said that construction of Renuka Dam had not started as the National Green Tribunal had granted a stay on 28.7.2011 on all construction activities.

He said that rehabilitation policy for the project had been framed and 35 hectares of land at four villages had been purchased at rates varying from Rs 3.75 lakhs to Rs 6.80 lakhs per bigha.

However, passing of the final award and payment of compensation under land acquisition has also been stayed by the green tribunal and till end of July, 2011 an expenditure of Rs 100.48 crores had been incurred on the project.