Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh today joined a growing list of states that have rejected the revised traffic penalties prescribed by the Union Transport Ministry for erring motorists, stating that their implementation would not be advisable at a time of economic difficulty.
Amid a public outcry over the hefty fines, Uttar Pradesh Transport Minister Ashok Kataria said that the BJP government in the state has decided to defer their implementation until there's more clarity on the matter. "We are sticking to the old fines for now. We will wait for the centre to give its final nod," he said, adding that the Yogi Adityanath government always has the people's welfare in mind.
Although BJP-ruled Uttarakhand did not put the new traffic penalties on hold, it has decided to revise them substantially to ensure that people are not put through undue hardship. State Urban Development Minister Madan Kaushik said that while the Trivendra Singh Rawat government plans to reduce the penalties for several offences by half, it has decided against relaxing fines for helmetless riding, speeding and going triples on two-wheelers. "The reduced penalties will come into effect after the state government issues a notification in this regard," he told reporters.
The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh has decided to approach the centre with a request that the new traffic penalties be reduced in the interests of the people. "We also want to prevent road accidents, but the centre must ensure that the penalties match the paying capacity of the people. This is a time of heavy recession," the office of Chief Minister Kamal Nath tweeted today.
Madhya Pradesh Transport Minister Govind Singh Rajput went a step further, terming the new fines as a "Tughlaqi" measure aimed at victimising the public.
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, which came into effect on September 1, made several far-reaching changes on existing traffic penalty charts. In the days that followed, an auto rickshaw driver in Bhubaneswar was fined Rs 47,500 for violating several traffic rules; a truck owner from Rajasthan had to pay up Rs 1,41,000 for overloading his vehicle; and a Delhi resident -- angered over being fined by a traffic policeman -- took the drastic step of setting his motorcycle on fire.
Since then, even the BJP governments of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka have expressed their unwillingness to go ahead with the new penalties prescribed by the Union government. While opposition-ruled states such as Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Delhi also indicated that they will consider making drastic changes at their end if the government doesn't reconsider the penalties, the West Bengal government has flatly rejected the possibility of implementing them in its jurisdiction.
Goa bought itself some time, saying that it will implement the new penalties only after having fulfilled its commitment of repairing all its potholed roads. That should happen by next year, it added.
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