Leaders of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) will be talking to the Odisha government to approach the Centre to amend the new Motor Vehicles Act. Due to the protests by people over the hefty penalties for violations of traffic rules, BJD Spokesperson and MLA, PK Deb has said they will be talking to the government on Sunday. The Odisha Transport Minister, Padmanabha Behera has asked the state government to relax the penalties if it is necessary. In response, the state government on Friday announced relaxation in the norms of air and noise pollution under the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 for a month.
"A proposal will be sent to the Central government for bringing amemdments in the act highlighting the concerns voiced by the people about its implementation," PK Deb said.
Political leaders from BJP and Congress have slammed the state government and pointed out states like Rajasthan, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh who are taking more time to implement the new Motor Vehicles Act. Congress leader and MLA, Suresh Routray, said that the state government has implemented the new MV rule in a hurry without creating awareness. Prithviraj Harichandan, BJP state secretary, allegedly said that the new rule is a way to harass and exploit people by imposing penalties for traffic rule violation. Meanwhile, Rajasthan Transport Minister, Pratap Singh Khachariyawas will be reviewing the penalty amount before implementing it in his state.
Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari on Saturday said that the hike in penalties as per the new Motor Vehicles Act will force people to follow the law and is meant for maintaining the safety of commuters. He also talked about the huge number of people visiting the Regional Transport Offices after the implementation of the new rule and said this will reduce the number of road accidents that take place. Gadkari assured the citizens that the collection of fines is not the motive of the rule but the safety of people is the ultimate aim.
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, came into effect from September 1, which was approved by the President on August 9, 2019. The government has notified 63 clauses in the Bill that deal with penalties, licences, registration and National Transport Policy, among others. The changes in the Bill imposes a hefty penalty for offences providing no specific penalty. For the first offence in the Act, the fine has increased from Rs 100 to Rs 500 and the subsequent offences from Rs 300 to Rs 1,500. A driver without a helmet will be fined Rs 1,000. The minimum fine for driving without a licence has been increased from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000, while the charge for driving despite disqualification has been increased to Rs 10,000.
(with PTI inputs)