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Stringent traffic laws push helmet sales

Helmet traders are raking in moolah as sales have gone up manifold within a week of the new police enforcing stringent traffic laws in the Capital.

delhi Updated: Apr 15, 2007 12:36 IST

Helmet traders and vendors are raking in the moolah as sales have gone up manifold within a week of the police enforcing stringent traffic laws in the national capital.

Following the Delhi High Court's directions, the enforcement of the new traffic rules since April 9 has become stringent with the minimum fine for offences revised from Rs100 to Rs 600.

Out of five million vehicles plying in the capital, at least two million are two-wheelers and their owners feel more harassed as they think that the increased fine of Rs 500 is a bit too heavy.

"I used to sell three or four helmets a day. But since the new rules have come into force the sales have gone up several times," said Raj Kumar, who runs a small roadside shop near Raja Garden flyover in west Delhi.

"My profits have gone up to Rs 150 a day from Rs 25-Rs 40. Having my outlet at a strategic location where traffic cops are there 24 hours has also helped," added Santosh Jha, another vendor at the footpath near Ashram Chowk in south Delhi.

Even errant vehicle owners now prefer to be on the right side of the law because of the enhanced fine. Some 7,000 people on an average are handed violation slips every day, Deputy Commissioner of Police H.P.S. Virk told IANS.

"As the fine has been increased to Rs.600, I think people would prefer to buy helmets that cost only Rs.200 to escape a higher penalty," said Ashish Ray, while picking up a helmet from Raj Kumar.

On an average, the helmets cost between Rs.100 and Rs.1,500, depending on the brand and its quality, said a local manufacturer.

"We were supplying 500 helmets a day to local markets but from the past few days we have been asked to double the supplies," said Jagjit Singh.

The stringent laws have also kept dealers of car accessories busy. As per data with the Delhi Traffic Police, some 300,000 cars in the city sport dark films or tinted glasses and this, too, carries a minimum fine of Rs 600.

"In past four days, I have removed black films from at least 70 cars," said Hari Om, owner of Car Home accessory shop in Dwarka, adding that owners of cars with tinted glasses have no option but to change them completely.

"We never had any customer in past who wished to peel-off black films from their cars. In fact they had always approached to get their car glass tinted. Now the same people for whom we fixed the films want them removed."

Meanwhile, the police intend to go on an overdrive from next week. "In the next few days, we will intensify the drive against violators. Motorists must adhere to the rules to avoid prosecution and inconvenience," said Joint Commissioner of Police Qamar Ahmed.

He said his force had prosecuted over 40,000 people and collected a record Rs 17 million as fines in the past week alone.