Protests, Lathi-Charge and Tension Over New Motor Vehicles Act In Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar: Simmering resentment over hefty fines sparked tension in Bhubaneswar with people detaining several government vehicles at Rajmahal Square which were allegedly being let-off without proper inspection as per the new Motor Vehicles Act. As public took law into its hand, police resorted to lathi-charge to control the situation.

Alleging that the law enforcing authorities were not checking any documents from government vehicles nor its drivers were being penalised for violations, locals detained MO Bus, vehicles of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Odisha Police near Rajmahal square today.

It is alleged that the all such government vehicles are openly floating the norms for which other commuters across Odisha are being penalised with hefty fines under the new Motor Vehicles Act.



Following the tension, senior officials of Commissionerate Police including Police Commissioner Sudhanshu Sarangi reached the spot to pacify the agitators. Senior officials clarified that there is no intention of police to harass public.

“We have not carried out any enforcement drive today. We are aware that lot of people are yet to be issued with driving licence, renew several documents as well as insurance and we had already announced for some relaxation during enforcement drive,” said Sarangi.

Sarangi further stated that today’s incident was the fallout of rumours on social media that a number of documents are being checked. He added that no insurance is done for government vehicles as the State government bears the claims and other issues under the Motor Vehicles Act. There is no question of a police personnel (driver) getting a job without having a valid driving licence.

“We understand the problems being faced by public. We are aware that it will take time and we are giving time to comply with necessary documents,” Sarangi added.

Senior officials of Commissionerate Police informed that traffic rules including drunken driving, riding without helmet, triple riding and using mobile phone while driving will be penalised. Earlier, the cops had announced that pollution and insurance guidelines have been relaxed and will not be checked for a month.

In order to curb the drunken driving menace, police have already intensified inspection of inebriated motorists by using breath analysers at various toll gates in Jajapur, Bargarh, Balasore, Rourkela and Choudwar.

Meanwhile, after several instances of hefty fines levied on auto-rickshaw for violating norms, the  All  Odisha Taxi-Auto Mahasangha has threatened the Transport department to launch State-wide protests and shutdown if the new rules are not revised.