CHANDIGARH: The BJP-ruled Haryana, which was on a spree on imposing fines to motorists for road safety violations, has decided to focus on educating them rather than imposing penalties till Sunday, while its neighbouring Congress-ruled Punjab and BJP-ruled Himachal Pradesh have deferred the new traffic rules for the time being.
To prevent road accidents, traffic constables of the Punjab Police are on a mission these days -- to repair potholes on roads of Bathinda, the hometown of Union Minister Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
From Friday, Haryana Police launched a state-wide awareness drive about the amended Motor Vehicles Act (MVA), 2019 that came into effect on September 1.
Haryana Director General of Police Manoj Yadav said as part of the campaign, all police officials have been directed to focus on spreading awareness about the increased fines.
During the campaign, the emphasis would be on education and awareness of the general public rather than penalizing violators, he said.
Those found violating traffic rules would be motivated to comply with traffic laws in future and be given one time warning, he said.
For the sensitization drive, college students and eminent people would be involved on a voluntary basis to assist the police about the changes under the amended Act, Yadav said.
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Haryana, which was among the first states to implement stricter penalties for traffic violations, has collected fines of Rs 52.32 lakh, with nearly Rs 10 lakh from just Gurugram, in just four days from September 1.
Scooter rider Mukul was fined Rs 16,000 in Kaithal town for not carrying documents of his vehicle.
Another scooter rider Dinesh Madan was fined Rs 23,000 by the Gurugram traffic police for multiple traffic violations. He was not carrying documents and the pollution certificate and was not wearing the helmet.
In another case, jumping the traffic light proved extremely expensive for an auto driver in Gurugram's Sikanderpur area. He was fined Rs 32,500.
Contrary to Haryana, Punjab Transport Minister Razia Sultana said for the time being the provisions of the amended MVA would not be applicable in the state.
And until any decision was taken on the implementation of the amended MVA, the old fines would be charged from traffic violators in the state.
She said transport being a state subject and the state would exercise its discretion in implementing some of the provisions of the amended Act.
Sultana said the Amarinder Singh-led government was very serious in implementing stricter traffic discipline. "But the government is also sensitive to the fact that everyday a number of innocent citizens die in road accidents."
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Sultana said "there is no denying the fact that traffic rule violations are the major cause of road accidents which claim innocent lives every day, but at the same time citizens must not be reel under the burden of huge penalties".
In Bathinda town, two traffic constables are repairing potholes on major roads. They can be seen carrying a bucket of sand and a shovel to repair the roads.
Himachal Principal Secretary (Transport) J.C. Sharma said the amended MVA is under the consideration of the government.
Unlike Punjab and Himachal, Chandigarh Police have had a field day in imposing enhanced fines on over 4,500 motorists and secured more than 14 lakh penalties.
The Chandigarh administration implemented the amended Act from September 1 and issuing nearly 400 fines on an average daily.
Police records have said that 1,300 two-wheeler riders were fined for not wearing the headgear. As many as 206 women were fined for not wearing helmets while riding two-wheelers.
A total of 257 car drivers were fined for not using seats belts.
In the first 10 days, three people were fined for giving their vehicles to minor for driving. The fine for underage driving is Rs 25,000.
A baton wielding police personnel in Chandigarh has wielded a pen to write lyrics advising motorists that they can't escape for a song after committing traffic violations.
Assistant Sub Inspector Bhupinder Singh, posted in the traffic wing of Chandigarh Police, is urging motorists through song not to violate traffic rules, as the amended MVA provides for hefty fines.
In a Punjabi song shared by the Chandigarh Police on its Twitter handle, Singh said many people are killed in road accidents and fines for traffic violations were low, which failed to deter violators.
"Now the implementation of new law has been announced. And do not complain that challans have become hefty. It will hit your kitchen budget," says the lyrics of Singh's song.
The officer and singing enthusiast urged the youth not to drive before they attain the age of 18, otherwise their parents could land in trouble.
As per the amended MVA, a person found driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will have to pay a penalty of Rs 10,000. The fine for this offence was earlier Rs 2,000.