Ahmedabad: Reduced penalties for traffic offences in Gujarat came into force on Monday, a week after the BJP government announced dilution of the recently-amended Motor Vehicles Act (MVA) that had provision for hefty fines.
The Congress, however, opposed the entire move and said the new Act should be implemented only after potholes on roads are fixed.
Last week, the state government had reduced the hefty fines for a slew of traffic violations stipulated under the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, passed by Parliament in July.
On Monday, a truck operator from Surat ended up paying a fine of Rs 5,000, the highest reported in the state, for not carrying the vehicle's fitness certificate, said an official.
There were long queues at centres issuing pollution-under-control (PUC) certificates, though the government had earlier announced that the penalty for its violation, for the moment, would remain Rs 100 as per the old norms and not Rs 500 laid down in the new Act.
Gujarat Congress chief Amit Chavda, meanwhile, hit out at the BJP government and said the Act should be implemented only when it manages to clear roads of potholes.
The Congress asked people to give a missed call on 079-41050774 to register their protest against the new Act.
"New traffic rules were imposed on the people by the government without doing proper homework. Thousands of people are still in queues to get PUC certificates. The BJP government has given a permit to the police to rob people by imposing these new rules," Chavda claimed.
Last week, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had announced new fine rates for traffic offences, rolling back hefty penalties laid down in the amended Act by up to 90 percent.
While the amended Central MVA provides for a fine of Rs 1,000 for driving a two-wheeler without helmet, in Gujarat the fine will be Rs 500, up from Rs 100 now, he had announced.
While the Central law has proposed a fine of Rs 1,000 for pillion rider not wearing helmet, this provision will not be implemented at all in Gujarat, Rupani had said.
The amended Central law proposes a penalty of Rs 5,000 if the driver does not have a licence. However, the state police will recover Rs 2,000 from two-wheeler riders and Rs 3,000 from drivers of bigger vehicles for violating this norm.
"The fine amount for different violations proposed under the Central law is the upper limit. Penalty collection is not our objective. We want people to be safe.
"The Gujarat government will enforce the law strictly wherever it is needed. We will be lenient wherever needed. That is why we will not impose any fine on pillion-riders," Rupani had said.