The Road Transport Ministry has rectified 2,500 black spots that caused accidents of the total of 6,000 identified nationwide and has urged states to cooperate in reducing related deaths by 50 per cent by 2025, union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday.

The Minister also suggested that smart villages, in line with smart cities, be developed to avoid migration of people from rural to urban areas, which, he claimed, was one of the reasons for the increase in accidents.

He was participating in an event, along with Chief Minister K Palaniswami on 'Chennai Road Safety', organised by World Bank and Government of Tamil Nadu.

Gadkari said India accounted for the highest number of accidents in the world, one of the major reasons for which was poor road engineering and also detailed project report.

"In our country, every year about five lakh accidents take place and 1.50 lakh people lose their lives….majority of the victims are agedvbetween 18 and 45 ", he said.

He said the Ministry has already rectified 2,500 of the identified 6,000 black spots

"We are in the process (to rectify the remaining).already the World Bank and ADB Bank have sanctioned a loan of Rs 14,000 crore and we are making improvements on the roads, particularly in removing the black spots", he said.

Gadkari said the government has decided that the number of fatalities should be halved before 2025, for which he sought the cooperation of state governments.

He said one of the reasons for the accidents was more number of people migrating from rural areas to metros, "at least 30 per cent of India's population," in search of jobs.

"Also, as a MSME minister, I am going to insist everywhere that you need to develop every village (as smart villages) not only smart cities we need to develop smart villages, we need to stop this migration, without that we cannot solve the problem of urban areas and that is important for the country", he said.

Gadkari said India was losing 3 to 5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product due to accidents.

He noted that a person could get a driving license in India very easily unlike in the United States

"It is also not good for me to tell you that when we referred to the records of driving licenses, at least 30 per cent of them were bogus and one person had 3-4 licenses", he said.

"We have changed the system and with the help of the Income Tax department, were able to take some action on those people who had three-four driving licenses", he said.

The Minister urged the Tamil Nadu government to make use of water transport through the use of hovercraft and motorboats as they were 'economically viable'.

"Water transport is very important. When I was shipping Minister I wanted to start water transport between Chennai and Kannyakumari…there are lot of new technologies available like amphibious sea plane… I request the Chief Minister to give priority to water transport", he said.

Earlier, Palaniswami said the state government has identified black spots that caused accidents and steps were being taken to remove them, besides providing speedy treatment to the injured and also creating awareness on road safety among students

As a result, the number of accident related deaths decreased from 17,218 in 2016 to 8,060 by end of 2020.

The CM said the state had received two awards from the Road Transport Ministry for the year 2017-18 and 2018-19 for its measures on road safety.

He said his government would take all initiatives to ensure there was nil accident related deaths in the state.

The CM also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gadkari for allocating Rs 1 lakh crore for projects related to road development in the 2021-22 budget.