Uttarakhand on Wednesday became the second state after Gujarat to announce a reduction in the hefty penalty amounts for traffic violations, Hindustan Times reported. The fines for violations were increased under the amended Motor Vehicles Act.

Uttarakhand Urban Development Minister and government spokesperson Madan Kaushik announced the new rates after a Cabinet meeting. He said a penalty of Rs 2,500 will be charged in case a person is caught driving without a license, as against the Centre’s proposed penalty of Rs 5,000. Similarly, the penalty has been reduced from Rs 10,000 to Rs 5,000 in case a person is caught driving even after suspension of his driving license.

If a conductor or co-driver is caught driving a vehicle even after being termed ineligible, then the fine would be Rs 5,000 instead of the Rs 10,000 prescribed by the Centre.

For use of handheld communication devices, while driving, the Centre has proposed a penalty of Rs 5,000. Kaushik said the state government has decided that a penalty of Rs 1,000 will be imposed on the first offence, Rs 5,000 for second and subsequent offences. The fine on registration of a vehicle on basis of incorrect details has been reduced to Rs 5,000 from Rs 10,000.

For driving an uninsured vehicle, the Centre had proposed a penalty of Rs 2,000 for the first offence and Rs 4,000 for second and subsequent offences. The state government has reduced that penalty to Rs 1,000 for two-wheelers and three-wheelers and Rs 2,000 for other vehicles in case of the first offence. The penalty amount will be doubled in second and subsequent offences for this category of vehicles.

The penalty for the violation of standards of air pollution or noise pollution has been changed to Rs 2,500 for the first time offence, and for second time it has been made Rs 5,000. The Centre has proposed a penalty of Rs 10,000 for both. The offender would also be fined Rs 5,000 for not giving side to fire tenders and ambulances against Rs 10,000 under the Centre’s new law.

The state government has reduced the penalty for the absence of safety harness for children in cars from Rs 1,000 to Rs 200.

It also reduced the fines for overloading for freight carrying vehicles. “As per the Centre’s amendments the fine for the same is Rs 20,000 and then Rs 2,000 per extra tonne than the permissible one,” Kaushik said. “The state has reduced it to Rs 2,000 for light motor vehicles and Rs 5,000 for medium and heavy motor vehicles. The fine for every extra tonne has been kept same.” Kaushik said the amendments were made for the convenience of the public.

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday instructed transport authorities in the state to reduce fines for traffic violations. 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.”

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.

Besides Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Odisha and Maharashtra have raised concerns about the exorbitant penalties. While West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday refused to implement the heavy fines, Maharashtra Transport Minister Diwakar Raote wrote to Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari about the exorbitant increase.

Gadkari on Wednesday had 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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