Not keen on fines for traffic violations: Maharashtra transport minister
State transport minister Anil Parab said his department is not keen on recovering fines to enforce traffic rules. He, however, said that strict action against offenders and awareness campaigns will ensure more road discipline.
Parab’s statement came during the 32nd National Road Safety Week on Monday, which was inaugurated by chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray at the Sahyadri guest house at Malabar Hill.
Thackeray directed the authorities to identify black spots that lead to accidents and build trauma care centres to treat victims to save lives. “We must ensure that the accidents decline. We must first identify accident-prone spots and build trauma care centres at some locations to ensure how we can save lives,” the CM said.
Thackeray said motorists should follow “niyam (rules)” and maintain “sanyam (restraint)” to keep “Yam (God of death)” away.
Maharashtra is among the top three states in the country to have reported the highest number of fatalities (11,452) due to road accidents last year, said Parab.
Mumbai, however, witnessed a decline in the number of total accidents and fatalities last year as compared to 2019. While the city reported 1,776 accidents and 299 fatalities in 2020, 2,872 road mishaps had occurred the year before that, killing 447 people.
After Mumbai’s guardian minister from Congress, Aslam Shaikh, sought heavy fines on traffic offenders, Parab said, “We do feel that the traffic norms must be stricter but we are not very keen on recovering fines and penalising people [for traffic violations]. But if we don’t do it [recover fines], then motorists will also not follow the traffic rules only if we conduct awareness campaigns. The drink-and-drive cases reduced after stern actions were taken against the traffic violators. If there is proper awareness combined with strict action against violations, then we will get the expected results through road safety campaigns.”
Shaikh said there is a need to increase traffic fines and action.
“The traffic fines need to be increased. While the maximum traffic violations are of motorcycles, we impose a normal fine and allow them to go. If we seize their two-wheelers or file cases, then it will create a fear. The process for acquiring driving licences also needs to be made stricter,” he said.
Parab also said the state transport department is making the licencing process better with less human interference. He said training institutions are soon coming up in the state where drivers will be tested at automated centres.
“Fifty driving training institutions will start in the state soon. The tests will happen at the automatic centres, where there will be less human interference that will ensure quality training to drivers,” the minister said.
Parab said the state is also planning to stop issuing new permits for autorickshaws and black-and-yellow taxis in the city as well as increase their minimum fares. However, a decision will be taken only after a thorough study on the two issues.
“The decision regarding the fare hikes and permits will be taken after studying the situation of the rickshaws and taxis as well as the passengers. A complete study is being done on both the issues,” he said.