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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Politicians join protest to oppose helmet drive in Pune

BJP leader Anil Shirole has urged chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to ask the police not to execute the rule strictly, but carry out public awareness drives

pune Updated: Jan 04, 2019 16:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
A group of politicians and activists, wearing the Puneri pagdi and not helmets, organised a two-wheeler rally and submitted a letter to K Venkatesham, commissioner of Pune police, opposing the compulsory use of helmets, on Thursday.
A group of politicians and activists, wearing the Puneri pagdi and not helmets, organised a two-wheeler rally and submitted a letter to K Venkatesham, commissioner of Pune police, opposing the compulsory use of helmets, on Thursday.(HT PHOTO)
         

Even as the city is seeing a considerable increase in road accident related deaths due to head injury, the Pune police drive to implement helmet rule from January 1 is facing strong opposition not only from residents, but also from some politicians.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Pune Member of Parliament (MP) Anil Shirole has opposed the police action on compulsory helmet rule besides appealing to the authorities to make wearing the head gear a voluntarily decision.

Shirole has urged chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to ask the police not to execute the rule strictly, but carry out public awareness drives.

“The use of helmet should not be made mandatory, but keep it as a personal choice. There are many cases of people suffering from medical issues after using helmets. Hence, it is my opinion that this issue should be kept open to the public,” he said.

College student Sachin Kelkar said, “The helmet drive is a good initiative by the police. People are claiming what is the need to wear a helmet inside a city where two-wheelers are usually ridden at an average speed of 20-25 kmph, but it is untrue. If the MP and politicians want to make helmet voluntarily, instead of speaking irrational, they should ament the Act first and remove the provision of making helmet compulsory from the law.”

Techie Sayali Nalawade said, “I don’t know why this issue is getting discussed in the first place. It is law and citizens should follow it or face cancellation of driving licence. The rule is not framed for Pune city, but is applicable all over the country. Helmets are meant to save lives. It is not about saving one life, actually you save the entire family.”

Social activist Sandeep Khardekar has criticised the manner in which the police are enforcing the helmet rule. “Ten to 15 personnel are catching one biker for not wearing helmet. Instead, police should concentrate on other issues. Mishaps involving people wearing helmets are also taking place on city roads.” Khardekar said.

Kelkar said that unlike other cities, residents of Pune use two-wheelers for short trips like grocery shopping and dropping children to schools. “Hence, it is important for citizens to wear helmets,” he said.

Meanwhile, a group of politicians and activists have come together to voice their opinion against the helmet drive by Pune police. They organised a two-wheeler rally from Ganjwe chowk to Pune police commissionerate without wearing helmets, but Puneri pagdi. Those who participated in the rally included Ankush Kakade, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) spokesperson; Congress leader Mohan Joshi, MNS member Rupali Patil and Suryakant Pathak, activist and Pune district working president of Akhil Bhartiya Grahak Panchayat.

“There is no need for compulsion of helmets in the city as narrow roads riddled with potholes force two-wheeler riders to go slow. While we are not against helmet, we are against its mandatory use,” said Kakade. The group later submitted a letter to K Venkatesham, commissioner of Pune police, opposing the compulsory use of helmet.

Interestingly, when the protestors were carrying out the two-wheeler rally without wearing helmets, the traffic police deployed along the stretch remained mute spectators.

First Published: Jan 04, 2019 16:24 IST