Patna: Wednesday was a “fine day” for many city residents who had to cough up the penalty for not wearing seatbelts in cars – something that’s second nature in most cities of the world and legally mandated by India’s Motor Vehicles Act, but something that is an alien concept for most Patna residents.
The state transport launched its special drive to ensure that people buckle up at around 11 am at five places: Saguna Mor, Hartali Mor, Kargil Chowk, and Dakbungalow roundabout.
Teams comprising officials from the transport department, the traffic police and magistrate-level officers stopped cars whose drivers and those sitting in the front seat were not wearing seatbelts. Many residents who were pulled up lost their cool and said they did not know about the drive.
“I know it is the rule to wear the seatbelt while driving but it is not practical in Patna where vehicles crawl behind rickshaws and tempos,” fumed Rajendra Nagar resident Manoj Kumar, who was pulled up at Kargil Chowk. “A car hardly touches 40 km per hour in Patna. It think the state government has come up with another drama to generate revenue as it is facing the heat due to prohibition.”
However, the officials were not in a mood to listen; all violators were fined. Manoj was fined Rs 600.
Many vehicles were stopped, resulting in traffic congestion.
A State Auxiliary Police (SAP) jawan found driving without seatbelt gave the excuse that his car seat was damaged and he was on duty. He was let off with a warning.
Similar scenes were visible at Dakbungalow roundabout.
One man, who said he was a doctor, argued that he had just come out from a hotel and hardly travelled any distance.
Transport department official Shiv Kumar retorted: “Once you start your car you are supposed to wear the belt; it does not matter how much distance you have travelled. You have to pay the fine if your vehicle is running.”
Patna sadar sub-divisional magistrate Bhavesh Mishra also told the doctor that he must pay the fine.
Transport secretary Sanjay Kumar Agarwal said Rs 150,000 was collected as fine from 454 vehicles on the first day of the drive.
“Under the drive, we will check whether people are wearing seatbelts and helmets (for two-wheelers),” Agarwal said. “The initiative is meant to prevent road accident deaths. The drive will be carried out on Thursday as well. In future, the drive will happen once every week.”
Courtesy: The Telegraph