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No funds, Haryana Vision Zero to shut ops

May 28, 2020 06:44 AM


No funds, Haryana Vision Zero to shut ops

Outside a construction site in Udyog Vihar. Yogendra Kumar/HT
Kartik Kumar

Gurugram : The Haryana Vision Zero (HVZ), a road safety programme launched in 2017 to achieve zero road fatalities across the state, has decided to end operations on May 30, citing lack of funds as the Covid-19 pandemic hit the economy hard

Every year, HVZ would receive a cumulative ₹3 crore from comapnies Honda and Nagarro as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds.

This year, this amount was to be initiated on May 1, but HVZ officials said that further funding from the two companies was hindered due to the coronavirus outbreak, as a result of which their organisation has to be closed down.

Manas Fuloria, chief executive officer of Nagarro, said, “The funding came up for renewal just when the Covid-19 crisis started. The economic slowdown, plus the uncertainty of when things will return to normal and the programme could restart led us to not renew our commitment. We will be happy to look at it in another avatar, maybe focused on Gurugram this time. Nagarro did not support the programme only monetarily, but also with our time, office space for holding HVZ training sessions, and with some IT and project management.”

Representatives from Honda did not respond to requests for comment.

HVZ officials said that they are looking at restarting the programme in the future, but at a smaller scale.“We tried our best to continue with the initiative for as long as we could. We will look back at the last three years with pride as it brought down fatality rates across all parts of Haryana. We will plan to see how we can reintroduce HVZ in some form in coming time. We will continue supporting the state in implementing the recommendations of the HVZ programme,” said Sarika Panda Bhatt, programme coordinator, HVZ.

HVZ commenced operations in May 2017, after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Haryana government. It is loosely based on the principles of a similar scheme in Sweden.

Initially, HVZ started with only 10 districts and in 2018 covered all 22.

With a team of 27 experts, HVZ audited roads across the state to determine accident-prone stretches, black spots, and engineering defects that were all contributing towards road fatalities.

Their reports, along with suggestions for changes, were subsequently shared during district road safety meetings with various stakeholders, such as Haryana police, public works department, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), local municipal corporations, and other local agencies.

During its three-year tenure, the total number of road fatalities recorded in Haryana was 5,390 in 2017, 5,356 in 2018, and 5,125 in 2019. Similarly, for Gurugram, the total number of road fatalities was 484 in 2017, 469 in 2018, and 401 in 2019.

Additional director general of police (ADGP), law and order, Navdeep Singh Virk, declined to comment on the matter stating that “this was not a police matter and rather was a government issue”.

Haryana transport minister, Mool Chand Sharma, said, “We have asked for a file on HVZ to review its work and see which suggestions of theirs can be implemented. We extend support to all road safety programmes engaged with the state.

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