Saturday, October 10, 2015

Way clear for Ecocabs founder to step in as traffic adviser

10 Oct 2015 Hindustan Times (Chandigarh)
HT Correspondent


CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday directed the Punjab government to give secretarial staff and vehicle, besides office space, to road safety expert Navdeep Asija.
The Punjab government had submitted that Asija would be appointed its road safety adviser by Monday but it was noncommittal on giving him other facilities, so the division bench of justice Surya Kant and justice Ajay Tewari had to come out with the direction. Asija, who is pursuing PhD from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, comes from Fazilka in Punjab and is the founder of dial-a-rickshaw (Ecocabs) concept, for which he won the 2011 national award of excellence from the Union Ministry of Urban Development.
Asija, consultant to various governments, also assists the high court on traffic-related issues in Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh. His appointment will be for two years and this consolidated pay would be `75,000 a month. Initially, the government had accepted the high court suggestion of appointing him as adviser but during the last hearing in September, submitted that it had reconstituted the road safety cell and now there was no need of appointing an expert. Miffed, the high court had summoned the home secretary.
On Friday, the state submitted that by Asija would get his post by Monday. In his recent report to the high court, Asija had submitted that the state had only 125 alcometers and seven speed guns to check traffic violations on almost 69,000-kilometre road network. Of 9.9 lakh people caught drink driving and speeding in 2014, only 5,688 (0.6%) had been penalised; besides, the traffic police needed modern gadges and the cities required infrastructure for pedestrians, said the report. Punjab is yet to submit its reply on the report.

The high court also summoned Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) chief administrator over the poor condition of roads in Gurgaon.
In the last hearing, the court had taken exception to the fact that despite its ordering the state to for technical safety audit of roads under the high court supervision, the work on the 200-km road network in Gurgaon had been assigned to Delhi Integrated Multimodal Transit System at a cost of `2 crore. The HUDA chief administrator was required to submit a reply by Friday, which it failed to. Now, he has been summoned for November 6

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