Police in Bihar has come up with a brilliant plan to get traffic law offenders to fall in line without them feeling harassed or burdened by hefty traffic challans. Quite to the surprise of road users in Motihari, Bihar, those riding without helmets or with lapsed insurance are being let off by the police, but not before they purchase a helmet or renew their insurance through agents present there. The drive has been launched in East Champaran district's Motihari by Chhatauni police station SHO Mukesh Chandra Kunwar.
The SHO got some helmet vendors and insurance agents on board for the initiative and set up stalls at the police checkpoints. "Riders are not being fined as that makes them feel like they are offenders. Instead, they are made to purchase good quality helmets and get their insurance renewed," he told PTI.
Bihar Police's initiative is not only tackling with issues of users riding without helmets or third-party insurance, but the officer has also requested the District Transport Office to deput an official who can issue learner's licences to those riding without them.
Kunwar says that he thought of this method as he believes imposing hefty fines on people will do little to ensure people are careful the next time.
The recent amendments made to the Motor Vehicle Act has increased the amount of traffic law violation fines by up to 20 times. Kunwar says the new rules give an impression that the new MV Act "has given a free hand to the police to act as extortionists. Such trust deficit is detrimental to policing," he said.
The SHO said Motihari's historic importance as the land where Mahatma Gandhi had launched the Champaran Satyagraha in 1917 had inspired him for the cause. "I drew inspiration from the town's historical legacy and came up with the plan which could help us achieve the objective of the amended MV Act in a humane yet effective way," he said.
However, Kunwar said that all offences can't be let off with goodwill gestures. "If a person is found driving rash or under the influence of alcohol -- sale and consumption of which is banned in Bihar – then we are left with no option but to take action according to the law," he said.