A drunk auto-rickshaw driver in Odisha’s Bhubaneswar was on Wednesday fined Rs 47,500 by the transport department under the new increased penalty amounts for traffic violations, PTI reported. The officials fined the driver identified as Haribandhu Kanhar under the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, which came into effect on September 1.

The traffic police and Regional Transport Office Bhubaneswar personnel intercepted the auto-rickshaw at Acharya Vihar Chhak in the city. Kanhar admitted that he was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the interception. “I cannot pay such huge amount of penalty,” he said. “Let them seize my vehicle or send to jail, I cannot pay the amount.”

He said he bought the auto for Rs 25,000 a week ago, according to News18. “I graduated a long ago, but couldn’t find any sort of employment,” Kanhar said. “I bought the auto to earn a living by plying it.”

Kanhar was fined Rs 500 for general offence, Rs 5,000 for allowing an unauthorised person to drive the vehicle, Rs 5,000 for driving without a valid licence, Rs 10,000 for drunk driving, Rs 10,000 for violating air and noise pollution norms, Rs 5,000 for using vehicle without registration and fitness certificate, Rs 10,000 for using vehicle without permit or violating permit conditions and Rs 2,000 for plying without insurance.

The driver said: “I do not understand why I was asked to pay such a huge amount as fine. I have not violated any rule except driving after having alcohol. I have all necessary documents and they are all updated, but I have them at home. I do not keep them in my auto as they often get stolen.”

However, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Amaresh Panda, said he committed other offences too. “The auto-driver was found to be under the influence of alcohol when he was stopped by traffic policemen on the road,” Panda told News18. “He was caught after he jumped a traffic signal. He failed to produce the documents pertaining to his vehicle and his driving skills. He was fined Rs 47,500 for all the different violations we found.”

He has been asked to deposit the penalty amount at the Driving Testing Centre in Chandrasekharpur in Bhubaneswar.

On Tuesday, the Gurugram traffic police had fined a two-wheeler rider Rs 23,000 for flouting multiple rules under the amended Motor Vehicle Act. Dinesh Madan, a resident of East Delhi’s Geeta Colony, was penalised for not carrying the required documents and riding without a helmet.

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on July 31 and came into force on September 1. The legislation aims to remove corruption, improve road safety and use technology to regulate traffic. It also enforces stricter penalties for road traffic violations.

On the first day after it was implemented, 39,000 drivers were fined for several offences, including for triple-riding, pollution norms and tampered number plates, among other violations.

Also read:

New Motor Vehicles Act: Now a penalty of Rs 10,000 on drunk driving. Check new rules here

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