Saturday, 18 Jan, 11.11 pm Deccan Herald

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Centre pushes for GPS, panic button in passenger vehicles

An year after relaxing the 2018 rule that had made GPS-enabled vehicle location tracking (VLT) unit and panic button mandatory for all transport vehicles, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has come up with a Rs 332-crore scheme to enforce strict compliance of the rules in the country.

In November 2016, the ministry notified the rules making the two devices mandatory in all four-wheelers and other heavy passenger vehicles providing transport service and set April 1, 2018 as deadline for implementation of the rule.

However, private operators, especially taxi drivers, protested against the rule and urged the government to withdraw the notification considering that retrofitting such devices will cost them insurance. The ministry relaxed the rule, exempting all the vehicles registered up to December 31, 2018 from the rule.

The rule regarding VLT and panic button devices came in the wake of the increasing number of incidents threatening the safety of commuters, especially women passengers. The state governments have to set up a monitoring committee, a centre whose digital infrastructure is estimated to cost Rs 20.35 crore for large states such as Karnataka, to keep track of the crores of passenger vehicles.

However, considering the 'very little progress' in the implementation of the rule, the Centre has now proposed to fund 60% of the cost of the monitoring centres under the Nirbhaya framework. States with difficult terrains will get 90% of the cost while Union territories will get entire funds from Centre.

Officials said they were yet to receive the Centre's notification but welcomed the step to fund the scheme.

'The buses run by the state transport corporations already have vehicle tracking units,' an official said. MORTH has set Feb 15 as deadline for the state governments to apply for the scheme.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by Dailyhunt. Publisher: Deccan Herald