Indian media: Poor road-safety standards

Federal minister Gopinath Munde was cremated with full state honours on Wednesday Image copyright AP
Image caption Federal minister Gopinath Munde was cremated with full state honours on Wednesday

Media in India are highlighting federal Health Minister Harsh Vardhan's remarks on poor road-safety awareness in the country.

Mr Vardhan said his colleague Gopinath Munde's life could have been saved if he had worn a seat belt.

Mr Munde, who was appointed just last week to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new government, died on Tuesday in a car accident in the capital, Delhi.

The health minister confirmed that Mr Munde was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, papers say.

"I lost my friend to a misconception where most people think that the back-seat belts serve only a decorative purpose. In fact, wearing them is as necessary as wearing front-seat belts. They can save lives in the event of impacts," The Hindu newspaper quotes Mr Vardhan as saying.

He added that the health ministry would initiate a campaign with non-governmental organisations to raise awareness about road safety in the country.

Newspapers are also calling for greater awareness about road safety and strict law-enforcement in the wake of Mr Munde's death.

"Better policing and enforcement with stricter and heavier fines, even for what people consider 'small' offences, have to be made the norm, rather than the exception," says The Pioneer.

The Times of India says "proper planning" can help reduce the number of road accidents.

"Intelligently planned roads that can absorb India's growing vehicular flows, well-placed pedestrian crossings and footbridges and modernised traffic monitoring - accomplished by hiring enough traffic police and giving them speed cameras, breathalysers and comprehensive post-accident assistance systems - can help India minimise losses caused by dangerous roads," it says.

Hanged while alive

Meanwhile, papers are also prominently reporting Mr Modi's assurance to top bureaucrats that they will be allowed to work fearlessly in his tenure.

The Asian Age says the PM's meeting with the officials shows his "agenda of governance" and his "expectations" from them.

And finally, autopsy reports show that the two teenage cousins, who were gang-raped in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh last week, were hanged from a tree while they were still alive, The Indian Express reports.

The reports show that the cause of death was identified as asphyxia due to hanging, the paper adds.

The two girls were found hanged from a tree in the state's Badaun district last week.

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