Transportation Current Affairs
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India has inked $346 million loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) to finance Karnataka State Highways Improvement III Project (KSHIP-III) for improvement of over 400 km of state highways in Karnataka. This will help in enhancement of connectivity and access to economic centres across 12 districts in Karnataka.
Karnataka State Highways Improvement III Project (KSHIP-III)
KSHIP-lll project will upgrade about 419 kilometers of state highways to two-and four-lane with paved shoulders. It will also reconstruct, widen, and strengthen culverts and bridges. Use of hybrid annuity contracts is important aspect of the project is to improve quality and sustainability of road assets with performance-based maintenance period of 7 years, post-construction.
The project will also carry out road safety audit to identify and mitigate critical accident blackspots across state highway network. It will also strengthen the institutional capacity of the Karnataka Public Works, Ports, and lnland Water Transport Department.
The ADB Financing will be in addition to ongoing road improvement project financed by ADB with loan of $315 million which involves upgradation of about 615 km of state roads. The new loan will continue ADB support to Karnataka government’s statewide road improvement programme and will also help improve road safety. This project will promote economic activities and foster inclusiveness.
Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has issued draft amendments to Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, making Vehicle Tracking System device and FASTags mandatory for all commercial vehicles obtaining national permit.
FASTags: It makes mandatory for vehicles to affix sticker confirming fitting of the Fastag in front wind screen of vehicles.
National Permit (N/P): It stipulates additional conditions for obtaining national permit. It also includes display of words ‘National Permit or N/P’ in front and rear of vehicles in bold letters. N/P will have to be inscribed on rear and left side incase of trailers.
Tanker carrying dangerous or hazardous goods: Its body has to be painted in white colour and display prescribed class label on both sides and rear of tanker. It should be also affixed with reflective tapes at front and rear.
Fitness certification: It will be not required at time of registration of new transport vehicles sold as fully built vehicles. Such vehicles will be deemed to be having certificate of fitness for a period of two years from the date of registration. Fitness certificate of transport vehicles will be renewed for period of two years for vehicles up to eight years old and for one year for vehicles older than eight years.
Digital Certificates: Henceforth, pollution under control certificates and driving license can be carried in physical or digital form.
Goods carrying vehicles: They will be required to carry goods in closed body of the vehicle or container. In case it is necessary to carry goods in open bodies, then goods will be covered by using tarpaulin or any other suitable material. Goods of indivisible nature, not capable of being carried in a closed body or being covered, may be carried without cover.
Load Carrying Capacity: The gross vehicle weight (GVW) for two-axle truck (two wheels in front axle and four wheels in the rear) has been raised from 16.2 tonnes to 18.5 tonnes, for three-axle trucks it has been increased from 25 tonnes to 28.5 tonnes; and for five-axle trucks from 37 tonnes to 43.5 tonnes. This will help reduce transportation (logistic) cost and consequently, commodity prices. Overloading is very rampant which will be stopped to an extent along with corruption.