NEW DELHI: A day after the BJP-ruled state of Gujarat slashed fines for traffic violations under the new Motor Vehicles Act, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari clarified that the new amendments to the Act were intended to save lives and not generate revenue.
While the states of Rajasthan and West Bengal did not abide by the high penalties, the step taken by Gujarat to slash the fines comes as an embarrassment for BJP government.
On July 31, Parliament had passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019. But some states had opposed its stringent provisions. Gadkari added that there must be a fear of the law among people. He also said states that had refused to implement the new penalties would be responsible for the state of affairs. He said, “This has been done to save lives. That is my first objective, but I need the cooperation of states.”
“It’s time the country thinks about saving lives. Over 1.5 lakh people get killed on the roads in a year. 65 per cent of those victims are in the age group of 8-35 years,” Gadkari added.
Amid resentments and widespread protest all over the State, the Jharkhand government, on the lines of Gujarat, is also planning to reduce fine amounts. “I have asked the department secretary to find a way out that how people could be given relief under the provisions of new motor vehicle act. They will get back to me after examining the provision of the act,” said State Transport Minister CP Singh.
Singh believes that people should have been given time to get their papers prepared through awareness programme about the provision of the new Act before implementing it.
Private transport unions in Uttarakhand had announced a one-day strike on Wednesday. After a cabinet meeting to discuss the issue, the state government joined the list of states that slashed the fines imposed in newly amended Act. Madan Kaushik, state cabinet minister and spokesperson for the state government said, “The decision has been taken for public convenience and will be implemented after notification from state transport department.”
(Inputs by Mukesh Ranjan and Vineet Upadhyay)