New Delhi, Jul 5 (Agency) Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday exhorted vehicle manufacturers to constantly improve quality and standards to align with international benchmarks. Coming down heavily on original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), the minister said despite OEMs commanding ‘huge market share’ in the Indian auto industry, they are unfortunately performing ‘very poorly’. Virtually addressing an event organised by MIT-ADT University, Pune, the minister said that safety audits have been mandated at all stages of road development to reduce accidents.
‘There is a need to improve bus body quality. I would urge vehicle manufacturers to constantly improve vehicle standards to align with international benchmarks,’ Gadkari, whi also has MSME portfolio along with road and highways, said. He further that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have a huge social responsibility for ensuring that vehicle manufacturing does not compromise with global crash standards even if it comes with a higher cost. ‘OEMs have huge market share in Indian auto industry, (despite that) they are unfortunately performing very poorly,’ Gadkari, who is known for expressing his frank views, said.
The minister said that India and other developing countries are witnessing a very high rate of road accidents and around 1.5 lakh Indians are killed every year, which is even higher than the COVID-19 deaths. Noting that about 60 per cent deaths are of two-wheeler riders, Gadkari said his vision is to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in road accident deaths by 2025 and zero accidents and deaths by 2030. ‘…we are making beautiful roads… At the same time, we are implementing all safety measures in road construction,’ he said. Gadkari said in the global scenario vehicle engineering technology has matured to a great extent and stressed on the importance of training of drivers and establishment of advanced training institutes and centres. The minister said it was his moral responsibility to make good roads and improve road infrastructure. He said cooperation, communication and coordination among all stakeholders is essential to create awareness and achieve goals.