With ruling and opposition fronts in Kerala coming out against the new traffic fines imposed by the Centre based on the Motor Vehicles Act 2019, the Kerala government has started to examine how the increased traffic fines can be brought down.
Talking to media on Wednesday at Thiruvananthapuram, Minister for Transport AK Saseendran said that measures are being looked into to bring the fines down.
As per the new rule, one has to pay Rs 1,000 for not wearing a helmet, which was earlier only Rs 100. Riding without seatbelt will be levied a penalty of Rs 1,000, while fine for overspeeding has been increased from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000. Drunken driving will invite a hefty amount of Rs 10,000, while riding without a valid licence will be charged Rs 5,000.
“Directives have been issued to the officials in this regard. Transport Secretary KR Jyothilal has been directed to look into what can be done and he will submit his report on September 16, after which the state government will take a call," said Saseendran.
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill was passed in Parliament in July and came into effect on September 1.
Like in several other parts of the country, there were widespread protests in Kerala too, against the massive hike in traffic fines.
While CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan earlier stated that the new fines were unscientific, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala opined that the BJP-led government has unilaterally imposed the hefty fines without consulting the state governments.
As the cries got stronger and with celebration of Onam festival also at its peak, the state government has decided that the increased fines will not be levied. Instead, the government is planning to create awareness against violation of traffic rules.
Saseendran's statement comes at a time when pressure is mounting from across the country to lower the hiked fines. Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday, however, defended the recent hike in traffic fines, describing it as a deterrent which will promote road safety and avert accidents.
(With inputs from IANS)