In a bid to promote road safety, the Andhra Pradesh government is planning to strictly implement the ‘No Helmet - No fuel’ policy across the state.
As part of the initiative, the police will be doing inspections at various petrol bunks to enforce the rule. Petrol bunks have been ordered to refuse petrol to riders who aren’t wearing a helmet.
However, the move has not pleased everyone.
"It is going to cause trouble at the fuel stations and it will lead to arguments with our customers. The traffic police have been doing inspections at various checkpoints and it is not fair to impose this rule on us," Raavi Gopalakrishna, president of AP Federation of Petroleum Traders told The Hindu.
"We are not the police or any other law enforcement agency, so it is not our job to implement the helmet rule. Definitely, it's not a good move," Visakhapatnam Petrol Dealers' Association president, T Narayana Reddy told the Times of India.
Addressing officials at the Interim Government Complex in Velagapudi on Wednesday, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu lamented that several people had lost their lives in the state that could have been prevented by wearing helmets and seat belts.
“People should change their mindset and know the fact that they are wearing the helmet for saving their precious lives and not for the sake of the government or police,” he was quoted as saying.
Last week, the Chittoor police claimed that their ‘wear helmet’ awareness campaign saved 23 lives within 18 days of its launch. It was launched on September 8.
According to reports, there are 16 petrol pumps in the limits of the Chittoor Municipal Corporation, which are constantly under surveillance.
The police have also arranged for helmets to be sold at petrol pumps at a subsidised cost of Rs 600, against the original cost of Rs 1,000.
This week, the Guntur Urban Police also joined the bandwagon and implemented the rule.
In the first week of September, a Road Safety Awareness Rally was launched by Krishna District Collector B Lakshmikantham along with DCP Kanthi Rana Tata and Deputy Transport Commissioner Meera Prasad in Vijayawada.
As part of this road safety initiative, Vijayawada’s bikers have to compulsorily wear a helmet. While it is already compulsory to wear a seatbelt, this development followed the guidelines from the State Road Safety Council.
This week, Visakhapatnam District Collector Pravin Kumar also directed officials to implement the ‘no helmet – no petrol’ norm for two-wheeler riders to reduce deaths due to road accidents.
However, this triggered an outrage among motorists, following which transport minister Sidda Raghava Rao stepped in and directed the officials to put the rule on hold, citing a shortage of helmets.