‘Why go soft on your vehicles’: Protesters clash with cops in Bhubaneswar
As the authorities in Odisha went on an overdrive to impose stiff penalties on traffic violators, hundreds of people on Saturday gathered at Rajmahal Square when a mob asked policemen to produce valid documents of their police vehicle. When the police failed to show those to the public, the locals protested the challaning of their vehicles.
Later the mob ransacked a police vehicle and attacked a few policemen triggering police lathicharge.
With the Odisha transport department imposing a hefty amount of Rs 88 lakh in the first four days of implementation of the amended Motor Vehicles Act, Odisha urban development minister Sushant Singh alleged that the Act was discriminatory.
Hundreds of people hit the streets in Odisha capital Bhubaneswar on Saturday to check and detain government vehicles that did not have valid papers. Implementation of the amended Motor Vehicle Act triggered violence in the city with police resorting to lathicharge. The mob alleged that the government was going easy on its own vehicles while imposing heavy penalty on private vehicles.
“The rules should be the same for all. Like us, the police should carry all the documents. If they are not doing that they should be challaned under the new Motor Vehicles Act,” said a man, who was challaned for not carrying his driving licence.
Police commissioner Sudhanshu Sarangi later said the police were not doing enforcement drives except keeping an eye on wrong side driving, triple riding by bikers and riding without helmets. “We are aware that a lot of people are yet to be issued with a driving licence. We are not even looking at insurance and PUC certificates. We are aware that it will take time to get the documents and we are giving time to people comply with necessary documents,” he said.
Sarangi said today’s incident seemed to be the fallout of rumours on social media that a number of documents are being checked. He said no insurance is done for government vehicles as the government bears the claims and other issues under the Motor Vehicles Act.
Odisha is among the few states that started implementing the amended MV Act from September 1 when it came into force. In the first 4 days, the Odisha transport department imposed a hefty amount of Rs 88 lakh as penalty, the highest in the country. On Wednesday, transport department officials in Bhubaneswar had imposed a hefty penalty of Rs 47,500 on an auto-rickshaw driver for driving his vehicle without a valid driving licence, registration certification, insurance certificate as well as for drunken driving.