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Seeking implementation of safe engineering on rural roads, road safety body IRF on Wednesday said the government has assured it that safety audits are being conducted at rural roads with more than 5-km length.

To improve quality and safety of rural roads, the government has appointed auditors to conduct regular safety audits, the International Road Federation (IRF) said, quoting an official from the Ministry of Rural Development.

The ministry has appointed auditors for regular road safety audits of rural roads having more than 5 km of length to monitor quality and safety of the roads, it said in a statement quoting former NHAI chairman and Secretary, Rural Development N N Sinha.

"The share of deaths on roads passing through rural areas has increased by more than 7 per cent between 2014-2019 while number of road accidents have decreased.

"About One lakh deaths were recorded in the year 2018 as compared to nearly 83,000 during the year 2014 on rural roads. While urban areas have high concentration of vehicles, the number of deaths rising in rural areas is primarily attributed to expansion of highways and construction of poorly designed rural roads with very few safety features," the statement said quoting Sinha.

Sinha was addressing a webinar on 'Safer Roads for Safety of All Road Users' by the India chapter of IRF, a global body working for better and safer roads worldwide.

Sinha said apart from safety audit, the Ministry of Rural Development is also imparting awareness to school children and rural population about road safety through audio visual clips.

At present, all roads constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) are covered by initial five year maintenance contract along with the construction contract, he added.

"To ensure safety on rural roads ... most desirable design standards should be selected and implemented...

"For implementing safe engineering on the rural roads all measures including bypasses for congested areas, creating self-contained zones, signages, crash barriers, Horizontal and vertical geometry, cross-sectional elements, design of at-grade and grade separated junctions should be incorporated," said K Kapila, president emeritus, IRF. PTI NAM NAM ABM ABM

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