Odisha govt likely to slash penalties under MV Act

As public hue and cry intensified, CM Naveen gave a three-month respite window to people to get their documents ready and now the Transport department is mulling a big penalty slash

Bhubaneswar: Even though the Centre is justifying the steep fines collected under the new amended Motor Vehicles (MV) Act 2019, Odisha government is planning to slash the penalties. Transport Department secretary G Srinivas on Wednesday hinted at such a possible reduction in the days to come.

During his surprise visit to the RTO-I office in Bhubaneswar, Srinivas said, “We are waiting for the notification of Gujarat (the BJP-ruled State which has already announced a drastic cut in penalties for traffic violations). Once it comes, we will review it and take further action.”

A couple of days ago, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked officials not to enforce provisions of the new Motor Vehicles Act aggressively for three months so that people can get time to arrange documents. Besides, Commissionerate police on Tuesday launched an awareness drive on the new MV Act by offering free helmets to two-wheeler riders and roses to the law-abiders.

On the other hand, the Transport department has reportedly passed the buck on to the police over the harassment of people under the new regulations. However, the Twin City police commissioner denied indulging in any war of words with the transport department over the issue.

“This is a big questions and hence, I want it to be discussed at a level it should be without any tu-tu main-main (blame game),” said Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Police Commissioner, Sudhanshu Sarangi.

While Odisha Congress has come down heavily on the Transport department for blaming the police department, BJP has demanded a 50% cut in fines.

Congress MLA Santosh Singh Saluja said, “Collection of fines was done as per the instructions of the transport department but now it is trying to pass the buck on to the police department.”

“Gujarat model of governance is a model for the entire country in all aspects. The fines should be slashed by 40-50 per cent and once people get habituated, the penalties can be enhanced,” said Bishnu Sethi, deputy leader of BJP in Odisha Assembly.

Speaking on the issue, former Transport minister Arabinda Dhali said that police have not harassed people. “A government always takes new steps and reforms in the interest of people. Law needs to be enforced strongly so that people will abide by it else people can never be made aware,” he added.