The police on Tuesday launched an awareness drive on the new Motor Vehicles Act in and around Bhubaneswar offering free helmets to bare-headed two-wheeler riders and roses to the law-abiders.
The move came a day after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked officials not to enforce provisions of the new Motor Vehicles Act aggressively for three months so that people get time to arrange documents.
There has been resentment over the imposition of heavy fines on traffic rule violators after the new Act came into force on September 1.
"Now, we are conducting awareness drives at roads. The MV Act is not a revenue-generating exercise. Safety of the people is our objective," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sagarika Nath said.
The police personnel were found giving free helmet to those two-wheeler riders who did not have helmets. However, the offenders were also charged Rs 500 as a penalty before getting helmets.
"We are urging people to wear helmets while driving two-wheelers. After issuing challan, we are providing them helmets free of cost," she added.
Apart from DCP Nath, some celebrities were also seen giving flowers, chocolates, thank you cards and leaflets to traffic rule-abiding commuters at Madhupatna Chhak in Cuttack.
During the grace period of three months, the police have been focusing on five aspects like drunken driving, use of mobile phones during driving, driving on the wrong side of roads, triple riding and non-usage of helmets and seat belts.
Transport Minister PN Behera said transport offices across the state will remain open in holidays to allow the people to prepare documents needed as per the Motor Vehicles Act 2019.
"The State government will provide all kinds of support to the public to help them arrange their vehicle documents within the relaxation period," the minister said. Behera said there was no question of returning money to offenders who paid through challan for violating traffic rules between September 1 and 9.
Opposition parties had demanded that the government return the fine amount to those who violated traffic rules last week in wake of the relaxation.