Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday instructed transport authorities in the state to reduce fines for traffic violations, PTI reported. The penalty amounts were increased under the amended Motor Vehicles Act.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader’s decision came a day after the government in Gujarat, which is also run by the saffron party, announced a reduction in the penalty amounts.

“Regarding the cut in the penalties for violation of traffic rules under Motor Vehicle Act, we will get the orders of the Gujarat government,” Yediyurappa said. “Mostly in about two-three days like in Gujarat, here also we will try to cut the penalties that are high.”

Asked if better roads should be provided before such hefty fines are imposed, Deputy Chief Minister Govind Makthappa Karajol said accidents occur on “good and safe roads”, India Today reported. “Our people drive at 120-160 kmph,” he claimed. “Many accidents take place on highways. I won’t support exorbitant fines. Our Cabinet will discuss how to relook into fines.”

Transport authorities are reportedly going over the required changes to be made in the penalty rates. The revised rates will be published in a government order after Yediyurappa’s approval, according to The News Minute.

Meanwhile, the government in Goa said it would first repair the roads in the state as a “moral responsibility” before charging heavy fines under the new law. Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho said the new traffic rules would be implemented from January 2020, PTI reported.

“The state government intends to repair all potholes-ridden roads by December this year,” Godinho said. “It would start enforcing the amended fines from January next year.”

The minister also said the quantum of penalties for certain sections would be reduced. “In certain offences like drunken driving the state does not have the mandate to reduce fines but there are some sections of the Act that allow state to curtail the penalties,” he added.

With Karnataka and Goa, seven states – including Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Odisha and Maharashtra – have raised concerns about the exorbitant penalties. While West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee earlier in the evening refused to implement the heavy fines, Maharashtra Transport Minister Diwakar Raote wrote to Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari about the exorbitant increase.

Earlier in the day, Gadkari asked states not to weaken the new law and claimed that it was “done to save lives”.

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on July 31 and came into force on August 9. Sixty-three clauses, including the penalty provisions, were implemented from September 1. The legislation also aims to remove corruption, improve road safety and use technology to regulate traffic.

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