BHUBANESWAR: In the wake of hue and cry across the State over imposition of heavy penalty for violation of traffic rules under the new Motor Vehicle Act, the State Government is seriously contemplating to go the Gujarat way to reduce fine on motorists violating traffic rules. This was indicated by Commerce and Transport Principal Secretary G Srinivas during his surprise visit to the Regional Transport Office here to take stock of the situation after the implementation of the new MV Act from September 1.
“We are waiting for the notification of Gujarat Government which has already announced a drastic cut in penalties for traffic violations. Once it comes, we will review it and take further action,” Srinivas told reporters. The BJP-ruled Gujarat is the first State to announce a drastic cut in penalties for traffic violations even as the Centre is justifying the steep fine to bring road discipline among the people and reduce accidents. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday directed officials not to enforce provisions of the new laws aggressively for three months.
The move came two days after scores of people, who were fined for violating the new traffic rules, clashed with the police at Rajmahal Square. Highly placed sources in the State Government said the Chief Minister may write to the Centre seeking reduction in penalties which have become too harsh. Earlier, the State Government had relaxed penalties for violation of Pollution under Control (PUC) vehicles, following an outcry on hefty fines. A drunk auto-rickshaw driver here was fined `47,500 and another driver was penalised `27,500 for violating traffic norms under the Act.
The imposition of hefty penalty has also been strongly opposed by Labour and Employment Minister Sushant Singh. All the political parties of the State, while expressing their reservation on the harsh penalties imposed on motorists for violating traffic rules, have urged the State Government to go slow. Senior CPI(M) leader Janadran Pati said the transport federations of eastern States will meet at Puri on September 23 and 24 to chalk out a plan for opposing the “anti-people MV Act”. Odisha Auto Mahasangha president Naba Mohanty also opposed the new Act and threatened to go on strike.