New Traffic Rules: Are Odisha Netas Above Law?

Bhubaneswar: At a time when common man is feeling the pinch of hefty fines under the new Motor Vehicles Act, it seems that political leaders in Odisha feel that they are above law as most MLAs and Ministers were seen openly violating the traffic norms on Friday. What is more surprising is the fact that cops have turned a blind eye to such violations by the VIPs.

Such blatant violation of traffic rules was captured on camera near Lok Seva Bhawan. Senior BJD leader and MLA Bishnu Das reached the Lok Seva Bhawan in his car and was seen not wearing seat belt. When asked, he said he is wearing two belts. However, while returning, he was seen struggling to fasten his seat belt in fear of media. It was only with assistance from others, Das managed to fasten his seat belt.

Not only Das, MLA Santosh Singh Saluja, former MLA Akash Das Nayak and former Minister Anata Das were also caught on camera violating the seat belt rule.

However, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik was seen coming to the Lok Seva Bhawan (Secretariat) in his vehicle and to no surprise, he was wearing seat belt.

“My driver was wearing seat belt as he is more important than the person sitting in the front,” said MLA Ashwini Patra.

Not only politicians, the law enforcing officials of Odisha Police are also not behind. A police official was seen driving his two-wheeler sans helmet on the busy Cuttack-Bhubaneswar road.

It is pertinent to mention here that common man is running from pillar to post to get necessary documents ready in a bid to escape heavy penalties under the new Motor Vehicles Act. It has led to resentment among people who alleged that penalties for several traffic violations have been increased considerably.

“The penalty for traffic violations is hurting the common man and we will certainly raise the issue in Odisha Assembly,” said MLA, Uma Ballav Samantray.