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Smt Sushma Swaraj and Shri Nitin Gadkari flag
Smt Sushma Swaraj and Shri Nitin Gadkari flag off Suraksha Yatra – a motor rally to reinforce Gandhain values and advocate Road Safety, from Rajghat

NEW DELHI. External Affairs Minister Smt Sushma Swaraj and Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari flagged off Suraksha Yatra - a motor car rally from Rajghat in New Delhi to commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The flag off was also part of an event to launch the 30th National Road Safety Week. The Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, Chemicals and Fertilizers Shri Mansukh L Mandavia and Shri V. Kalyanam, Personal Secretary to Mahatma Gandhi were also present on the occasion. The rally will travel through places historically associated with Gandhiji, both in India, as well as in Bangladesh and Myanmar, and will pass through Sabarmati, Porbandar, Dandi, Yerwada, Sewagram, Jabalpur, Lucknow, Gorakhpur, ChauriChaura, Champaran, Shantiniketan and Kolkata in India before travelling to Dhaka in Bangladesh. It will conclude at Yangon in Myanmar on the 24th of February, covering a total distance of 7250 km. The rally is part of the year-long celebrations to commemorate the 150th year of Mahatma Gandhi in India and across the globe, initiated by Government of India on 2nd October last year. It will take up advocacy on Road Safety concerns along the route.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Gadkari said the objective of the rally is to spread Gandhji’s message of Satya and Ahimsa among people. He said Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals are very relevant in today’s times and are respected by people the world over. Shri Gadkari said that since Gandhiji is an inspiration for society, this rally on his 150th birth anniversary can have a big impact in creating awareness on the issues of road safety. The nearly 5 lakh road accidents in the country and the resulting huge loss of lives is a major cause for concern. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has taken earnest steps for reducing the number of road accidents that include rectification of accident black spots, improved road engineering, training of drivers and awareness generation. Some positive, though small, results have been seen in the past two years, with some reduction in the number of accidents. A lot more needs to be done in this regard, he said, and expressed hope that the rally and the other events being organized as part of the National Road Safety Week would help in making people more aware about the issue and the vital roles they can play in preventing accidents. The Minister also administered a Road Safety Pledge to the people on the occasion.

Smt Sushma Swaraj called upon road users to adopt Gandhiji’s principles of Peace, Patience and Tolerance for improving road behaviour. She referred to the increasing cases of road-rage, and said that a large number of road accidents occur because people are not mentally at peace while driving, they are impatient and intolerant. She said, adopting Gandhiji’s principles of can help in making people more peaceful, patient and tolerant, thereby preventing road accidents.

Shri Mandaviya said the rally was a very good opportunity to spread education about road safety. He said, Gandhiji’s message of discipline is relevant for inculcating the spirit of discipline among road users. Remembering his recent Padyatra, he said, he learnt that Gandhiji’s ideas are still useful for the society.
Various programmes will be held during the Road Safety Week, including seminars and workshops on Emerging Trends in Safety, Road Safety Engineering, Motor Vehicle Insurance, Emergency care (Protection of Good Samaritan & First Responder Training), Role of Youth, and Industry/ Corporate Conclave on Role of Corporate in Road Safety. These will be attended by representatives of OEMs, ACMA, Test Agencies, Road Engineers/Auditors and Road Construction Companies/ Concessioners, Corporates, NGOs, Insurance Companies, Medical Staff, and college students. School Bus Driver Refresher Training session will also be held at IDTR, Sarai Kale Khan, where bus drivers from private schools will be imparted training on road safety.(UPDATED ON FEBRURY 4TH 2019)