Karnataka deputy chief minister Govind Karjol raised eyebrows on Thursday when he blamed ‘good roads’ for major accidents. The statement of the senior BJP leader comes at a time when the Centre is levying heavy fines for road traffic violations to deter people. Union minister Nitin Gadkari recently said that the new traffic fines under the Motor Vehicles Act will reduce the number of road accidents. Addressing questions from the reporters on why should the public be made to pay hefty fines when the roads were still in a deplorabale state, the Karnataka deputy CM said that major accidents were caused by good roads.
"Major accidents happen due to good roads where people drive at the speed of 120 to 160 kmph. Majority of accidents occur on highways," Karjol was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Karnataka deputy CM also said that he was not in favour of levying high fines. "I don't support levying high fines. We will take a decision on the revision of fines during the cabinet meeting," he said.
The amendment in the Motor Vehicles act, which proposes a 10-fold hike in fines for traffic violations, has sparked a debate across the country. The Congress and the Trinamool Congress have been vehemently opposing the move. Even 3 BJP-ruled state are yet to bring the law into effect, with Gujarat and Uttarakhand going back to the old penalties. As per the new rules, the fine for drink driving has been increased to Rs 10,000 along with imprisonment up to six months, while dangerous driving attracts a fine of Rs 5,000.
Meanwhile, Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa has directed officials to slash the fines for traffic offences. Bengaluru City Traffic Police (BTP) continues to impose hefty fines on violators. On Thursday, the city police registered 6,350 cases of traffic violations from 10 am on September 11 to 10 am on September 12, reported the Indian Express. The report also said that the police had collected fines worth Rs 20.55 lakh in the 24-hour period.