Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol on Wednesday claimed that good roads cause major accidents, The Indian Express reported. His remark came days after the Centre amended the Motor Vehicles Act to prescribe hefty fines and increased jail terms for traffic offenders.

“Major accidents happen due to good roads where people drive at the speed of 120 to 160 kilometres per hour,” Karjol said. “I don’t support levying high fines. The state cabinet will decide on the revision of fines and will notify the public and traffic department soon.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari had defended the steep fines for traffic violators. Gadkari said the purpose of the fines was not to earn more revenue, but to save lives.

So far, eight states, including Karnataka, have raised concerns about the exorbitant penalties. While Uttarakhand and Gujarat have already announced a reduction in the hefty penalty amounts, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has instructed transport authorities in the state to reduce fines for traffic violations. “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 had said on Wednesday. “Mostly in about two-three days like in Gujarat, here also we will try to cut the penalties that are high.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said on Wednesday that the amended Act will not be implemented in the state. She had said the heavy fines imposed under it will overburden the common man. She also said that the amendments to the legislation were “too harsh” and against the government’s federal structure.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Transport Minister Govind Singh Rajput on Thursday called the Centre’s decision to amend the Motor Vehicles Act a “Tughlaqi order”, referring to the sultan of Delhi Muhammad bin Tughlaq, ANI reported. “Most of the fines are more than what common man can afford,” Rajput told reporters. “I will discuss the matter with the Chief Minister [Kamal Nath] and try to lessen the burden wherever required.”

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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