November 27, 2019
Abir Ranjan Biswas speaks about road safety awareness
Sir the Motor Vehicle Amendment Act, 2019, implemented from September 1 was aimed at providing transformational change in how Indian roads and transportations are governed, and to ensure the discipline on roads by tightening of rules. Sir, this has yielded good and positive impact in many areas, namely rash driving, over-speeding, and of course, driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. But all these were done to ensure the safety of the public at large.
But Sir, States implementing the aforesaid Act are facing certain difficulties, which if taken care of, can be convened for all. There is another positive impact on this. You may have seen that insurances of certain companies have risen in certain cases from 300 per cent to 500 per cent. This is also a good aspect of it. But at the same time, we have seen that it is quite impactful in implementing the Act.
We have seen states like Gujarat, Karnataka, Manipur, Kerala, Uttarakhand who reduced the fines. Also Sir, we have seen states like Maharashtra, Goa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Punjab, who put the implementation on hold, and Sir, Odisha relaxed the implementation for 3 months. After that, it was implemented by the police and their implementing authority. All this was done for the awareness campaign. It can be carried out with this objective – listing put on hold in the States.
Sir, the Bill while it has been passed, had impracticable clauses. Specially the penalties imposed by the Bill for various offences. Sir the penal provisions laid down in the act are disproportionate and arbitrary. To give you a few examples, Sir. Rajasthan registered truck had invited the fine of Rs 1.41 lakh. Odisha registered auto invited the fine of Rs 40,500 and we all know that there was an instance with a motorbike which was burned down by the owner because the fine that was put on it was more than the cost of it.
So, in this case you say that we all should subscribe to the vision of safe driving and curbing road fatalities. Answer lies in the coordination between States and the Centre. But the Centre denied the rights of the State to exercise the decision-making power they have been given under the Constitution. Sir for States putting implementation on hold for the purpose of conducting awareness campaigns, I would like to say that our State, West Bengal, has put on a successful example by taking initiative of “Safe Drive, Save Life”. Over the course of the last three years this has brought down the number of accidents by 27 per cent. And Sir, the number of fatalities reduced by 17 per cent. The Supreme Court praised this initiative and advised all others to follow suit.
Thank you, Sir.