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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

CM bats for helmet rule in Pune the e-challan way

Don’t harass citizens by stopping them on roads, says Devendra Fadnavis

pune Updated: Jun 19, 2019 14:31 IST
Parth Welankar
Parth Welankar
Hindustan Times, Pune
The Pune police from January to May this year have generated a total revenue of at least Rs 45 crore from helmet-less drive campaign by implementing the rule.
The Pune police from January to May this year have generated a total revenue of at least Rs 45 crore from helmet-less drive campaign by implementing the rule.(HT PHOTO)
         

PUNE: Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday asked the Pune police department to not harass citizens while enforcing the compulsory helmet rule in the city and instead use technology to implement the decision.

Fadnavis gave the statement after members of legislative assembly (MLAs) representing the city met him on Tuesday morning during the ongoing state assembly session. They requested the chief minister to stop the enforcement undertaken by the city police department regarding compulsory helmet rule.

Fadnavis said, “The police department should not harass people by wasting their time and instead take action using the e-challan facility like in Mumbai and Nagpur. Send notices at the residential or official address of citizens instead of harassing them.”

Shivajinagar MLA Vijay Kale said, “On Tuesday, we met the CM with the demand of the Pune residents to stop police action on those refraining from wearing helmet. We requested his (Fadnavis) intervention in the drive undertaken by the city police department. While we told him our reservations regarding the rule, he has accepted our demand.”

According to Kale, Fadnavis has directed the city police department to stop their drive for now until a common consensus to the implementation of this rule is achieved.

MLA Madhuri Misal said, “There was a lot of resentment among citizens against the police department for taking action in regards to the mandatory helmet rule. We also informed him about the unapologetic attitude of the police department officials and the way citizens were bullied by them.”

Resistance from politicians and some citizens to the police department was evident ever since the department started taking action in this regard in December 2018.

Ranjit Gadgil, programme director of city-based NGO Parisar, said, “Compulsory helmet rule has saved at least a dozen of lives in the city. It is unfortunate that the move by the department has come into negative scrutiny of few sections and politicians. If CM Fadnavis would have directly asked the department to stop actions, it would be contempt of court and hence he chose this way of communication.”

Leaders of the ruling party in the PMC have been demanding the compulsory helmet rule to be implemented only on highways and not in city areas.

While the BJP MLAs met CM on Tuesday, but at various occasions leaders from other political parties as well had raised opposition to the rule.

Girish Bapat, former guardian minister and now city MP, has voiced his opposition to the helmet drive.

While the police department will now have to succumb to the political instructions, the department, however, was leaving no stone unturned in enforcing the compulsory helmet rule.

The Pune police from January to May have generated a total revenue of at least Rs 45 crore from helmet-less drive campaign.

Unlike hometown, Fadnavis ‘blinks’ when it comes to Pune

Helmet rule is not compulsory for some cities in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled Maharashtra. While chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has given a free hand to the traffic police to implement the mandatory head gear in his hometown Nagpur, he has relaxed the rule for Pune.

Acting on the requests made by Pune’s members of legislative assembly, Fadnavis on Tuesday directed the city police department to stay the actions taken on helmet-less drivers.

The mandatory helmet rule has been in force in Nagpur since 2018.

Gajanan Rajmane, deputy commissioner of police, traffic branch, Nagpur city, said, “We have been enforcing the rule in Nagpur city since 2018 and have not faced any opposition from anyone. Not a single politician has interfered in any of our actions and citizens have always supported our campaign.”

By enforcing the compulsory helmet rule, be it Nagpur police or the Pune counterpart, we are just following the traffic rules and regulations in existence since a long time, added Rajmane.

Pune MLAs on Tuesday morning met Fadnavis during the ongoing state assembly session. They requested the chief minister to give directions to stop the enforcement undertaken by the city police department on compulsory helmet rule in the city.

A complaint was filed in a Pune court against CM Fadnavis in January 2015 alleging that he had violated the provisions of Motor Vehicles Act by riding a two-wheeler without wearing a helmet during the assembly elections campaign. A similar complaint was recently filed against union minister Nitin Gadkari in Nagpur on helmet-less riding.

First Published: Jun 19, 2019 14:29 IST

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