TrafficInfraTech/Parking InfraTech Expo 2016 saw an impressive number of senior officials from the Center and State governments. Vipul Mitra, Principal Secretary, Government of Gujarat spoke to TrafficInfraTech
What is your impression about the latest technology displayed at the Expo?
It was a good learning experience. Traffic management technology is more important than manpower because you cannot deploy manpower in every junction and check post. There were many stalls which offered good solutions.
We are already into digitization of our check posts, Gujarat has around 16 check posts and the collection is around 350Cr annually by way of different penalties, fines, overloading etc. But we believe, a lot can be done if we are better digitized if we have scanners, better cameras which are used effectively. Manpower based things always leave a scope for leakages at the grass-root level. Human beings cannot catch the speed of the vehicle movement which requires accuracy and precision that only a technology can. We want technology to intervene and support us.
Were you able to find some technologies/ systems for your highways and ports?
I saw a few weigh-bridges which could be installed outside the ports. So, we can make out the weight, dimension and axel of the vehicle. A boom-barrier may not be able to calculate the permissible viz-a-viz the actual scanning. Overloading is particularly a major problem, and people have the tendency to put more weight to save cost.
What are the challenges at the Ports?
Gujarat has about 1600km of coastlines and 39 ports. We have private ports which are as large as government ports. Gujarat handles most of the cargo in the country today, the connectivity to highways to the hinterland is very important. Unless we have the back-end evacuation system which is seamless, it is difficult to make the ports efficient. The cargo is increasing day-by-day so there is a need for proper regulation inside the port too.
Gujarat has good highways and expressways. Yet you might be facing few challenges to meet
Our country has some of the best roads but even the vehicles are increasing every year because of urbanization. A major cause of concern is the number of accidents. These accidents could be reduced with the use of technologies like speed-governors, e-challans, cameras which will catch the violators. Stringent policies must be implemented; this could happen only with the help of technology. There is a difference in a person who drives here in India and in abroad. He becomes conscious, responsible and sees the technology there. The moment we get this technology in India and regulate the people, I believe, they will be disciplined very fast.
Sensitizing the authorities about the technology is also an important aspect
Expos like TrafficInfraTech are useful for not only the RTOs and the police but even for school children and citizens. Gujarat has a programme called ‘Traffic Awareness and Management System’. We have vans that visit schools and sensitize children on various traffic rules and regulations.
So when people come to know that the cameras are being installed in various parts of the city and traffic signals. They should have belief on the credibility of technologies. If traffic lights work erratically, people will lose fate and jump the signals and violates the law. So, I believe technology must be sound and designed as per the psyche of people.
Gujarat is now developing apps. We are also exploring possibilities where every person becomes traffic enforcer; if somebody sees a violator, he/she can capture the scene in smart phone, geo-tag and pass it on to the enforcement authorities.
How easy or difficult it is to implement the latest technologies in your state?
Gujarat has always been progressive in terms of technology, the way things/ projects are to be implemented. There is no shortage of funds. The government is serious to implement safety regulations on road, implement new technologies, transparent system and making it easier for getting the license or vehicle transfer. At the same time, person who is behind the wheel has a huge responsibility to ensure that people the pedestrians are also safe.