VIPs shrug off new traffic rules, ordinary motorists fume

VIPs shrug off new traffic rules, ordinary motorists fume
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's car

Thiruvananthapuram: The vehicles of Kerala ministers, including that of the chief minister, are openly violating the traffic norms as the new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act is being implemented. Interestingly, the common man is made to pay heavy fines prescribed for minor traffic violations under the new law which is in effect since September 1.

The rules stipulate that the windows of cars should not be covered, but the state cars have curtains on them. The transport secretary had assured action on this a month ago, but apparently there was no follow-up.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's official car, KL 0 1 CB 7400, was found with its windows curtained. Same is the case of Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan's vehicle KL 02 CB 8378, Excise Minister T P Ramakrishnan's car KL 01 8386, Fireforce director general's KL 01 CG 288, Devaswom Board secretary's car KL01 CH 43, Kodikunnil Suresh MP's KL 24 K 9009, and health department director's official car KL 01 BM 2329.

The official cars of ministers Chandrasekharan and Ramakrishnan as well as of fireforce director general entered the Secretariat premises on Saturday with their windows shielded with curtains.

Pointing out the widespread use of curtain and black film on the windows of government vehicles, Transport Secretary K R Jyothilal had on August 5 shot off letters to the DGP and transport commissioner, seeking the police and the Motor Vehicles Department to take action.

A High Court order had ruled against the use of curtain on the car windows. As per the new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, this offence fetches up to a fine of Rs 5,000.

The registration of those vehicles that repeatedly violate norms can also be cancelled.

Resentment against new law

The widespread resentment against the new stringent rule has prompted the CPM to ask the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala whether the implementation of the Centre's Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act in the state can be postponed.

While pointing out that not all states have implemented the Centre's law, the party secretariat has asked the government to check into the legal aspect.

As huge fines are being levied even for minor offences, it is causing several law and order issues in various parts of the state. Those who are being apprehended by the police, refuse to pay the fine and end up in an altercation with the cops. As the police and the Motor Vehicles Department are responsible for implementing the law, the state government would have to bear the brunt of the public resentment.

The new law imposes heavy fine and even imprisonment for traffic violations.

Citing it to be impractical, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan government are yet to implement the Act that came into effect on September 1. They plan to approach the Supreme Court against it.

Though the CPM had opposed the Bill in Parliament, the LDF government promptly implemented it in Kerala. The Nationalist Congress Party, which handles the transport portfolio, also did not make a political assessment either.

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), affiliated to the CPM, has also approached the government against the new law.