On an average, 80,000 people either lose their lives or are left seriously injured in hit and run cases annually.
In a written reply to a question from BJD’s Anubhav Mohanty in Lok Sabha this week, the road transport and highways ministry has said that around Rs 12 crore claim has been paid for the 5,036 cases between April 2017 and February this year. Government sources admitted that the trend of compensation paid in hit-and-run cases over the years is a “matter of concern” and this needs immediate attention.
Hit-and-run cases are those in which police are unable to identify the offending vehicle or its owner and hence in these cases, the compensation is paid from the government’s solatium fund. Earlier, the compensation paid from this fund was Rs 25,000 in the event of each death and Rs 12,500 for grievous injuries.
In the amended Motor Vehicle Act, this compensation has been increased eight-fold — Rs 2 lakh in case of death and Rs 50,000 in case of grievous injuries — and the new rule has become applicable from April 2022. The data provided by the ministry show between April 2022 and February 2023, claims have been paid in 72 death cases and only six in cases of injuries. The government has paid Rs 1.47 crore as compensation during the current financial year.
As per the “Compensation to Victims of Hit and Run Motor Accidents Scheme” notified in 2022, such victims and their family members must get the compensation in less than three months and the amount should be transferred online. To meet the compensation requirement, the government has created a Motor Vehicles Accident Fund.
Sources said the government is now planning to fix the issues that might be resulting in few victims and their kin applying for the compensation.