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Devbrat Patnaik

Bargarh: Amid numerous reports in Odisha about commuters being issued ‘wrong challans’, a Haiwa truck driver has reportedly been penalised for not wearing 'both' seat belt as well as helmet at one time. Such an allegation has surfaced from Padampur in Bargarh district.

According to sources, the traffic police in Bargarh issued a challan against one Sunil Kumar Mahap of Kashipali under Bhatli PS on December 2, 2019. The challan mentioned vehicle class as Goods Carrier (HGV) and in the subsequent column of offence committed, the pending challan amounts to Rs 2000 under new Motor Vehicles Act- Rs 1000 for driving without seat belt and rest Rs 1000 for driving without helmet.

Sources said, on December 2, police had launched a vehicle-checking drive near Mahulpali chhak here when the truck driver Hemanta Mahananda was caught violating traffic norms. Though he was intercepted by police for not wearing seat belt, a challan of Rs 2000 was issued against the truck owner, which included driving without seat belt and riding without helmet as offence.

Police is however yet to respond to the allegations.

In a similar incident, police had issued a ‘wrong e-challan’ against the daughter of Tapan Mishra, a Bhubaneswar-based journalist. According to Mishra, his daughter was penalised for riding without helmet, and much to his surprise the challan issued to them mentioned registration number of their car.

Likewise, Sushant Mohanty of Ganga Mandir area in Cuttack, was reportedly issued a challan of Rs 3,500 for violating multiple traffic rules at Vani Vihar Square in Bhubaneswar in the month of August. However, Mohanty refuted and said he had not driven his car to Bhubaneswar on that particular day. According to VAHAN website, Mohanty has been issued the challan for not having valid pollution under control (PUC) certificate, driving licence, over-speeding and not stopping his car despite instructions from the traffic police.

Refuting the charges, Mohanty said, “I have a valid driving licence and pollution certificate. If I did not stop my car (as mentioned in the VAHAN website’s challan), how could on-spot traffic cops manage to find out that I did not have a driving licence or PUC certificate.”

While RTOs could not be contacted, State Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera has clarified that the money will be refunded in such cases. “It should not happen. If there is any such instance, money will certainly be refunded to the people,” Behera said.

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