Nagpur: The Maharashtra Government coffers got richer by a staggering Rs 1,73,41,300 (Rs 1.73 crore) in 2016 as the Traffic Department of Nagpur Police cracked down on 1,61,866 helmetless riders from January to August this year. Cops recovered the huge amount as a fine from the two-wheeler riders for failing to wear the protective gear. The traffic cops who defied the order and roamed without the helmets too faced the music and were forced to cough up the stipulated fine.
The scenario on city roads changed drastically the moment wearing of helmets was made mandatory by the State Government in order to reduce fatalities in road accidents. With the diktat of compulsory helmet, the markets were flooded with all kinds and brands of helmets and the prospective buyers making a bee line to have their heads covered. The helmets were sold like hot cake and the stocks too evaporated with the heavy rush.
One of the dealers said that earlier he hardly used to sell 5-6 helmets in a month. But now he sells more or less 50 helmets per month. Women too reached the shops and ensured their heads are protected by the stuff.
Apart from 10-12 major companies, over 100 small time units manufacture helmets with capacity being around 5000 helmets per day. With the regular sell in Uttar Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Delhi and other states, the companies hold adequate stocks. The helmets in the range of Rs 500 and Rs 2000 and of ISI mark are available in Nagpur market too. However, the sub-standard helmets are also finding place at counters and heads of riders as well. For womenfolk, the range begins from Rs 400. At the same time, helmets without ISI mark are also making a brisk sale. These inferior stuff can be purchased at Rs 200 only along with a risk.
If the swoop on helmetless riders continues the dealers would witness a surge of customers and a brisk sale. The helmets are available in different shapes and colourful look. However, a horde of dealers are wary of the drive the traffic cops have undertaken against the two-wheeler riders sans helmets. They say that they are ready to stockpile huge number of helmets if the drive continues non-stop. Earlier also, wearing of helmets was made compulsory but the implementation went dormant. This no action put the dealers at a loss as huge stocks of helmets gathered dusts at the counters and shelves of dealers for want of uncared buyers. The drive should be on the lines of Madhya Pradesh where petrol is not sold to two-wheeler riders if they spurn helmets. In Maharashtra, a decision was taken in this regard but the government buckled under pressure when petrol dealers threatened to go on indefinite strike in protest against the decision.
The number of two-wheelers has increased manifold in the city and the number of accidents too have seen a jump. The dealers opine that the compulsory helmet rule should be enforced strictly.
High Court directive:
Talking to Nagpur Today, the DCP (Traffic) Smartna Patil said that after the High Court upheld compulsory helmet decision, the cops are implementing the order strictly and sparing no riders. Now, even the fine has also been increased to Rs 500 from the earlier Rs 100. The Traffic Police are undertaking the drive effectively. Awareness among citizens is also necessary. “Wearing of helmets protects the riders from head injuries which the major cause of fatality in road accidents. Apart from common citizens, the truant police personnel who violate the helmet rule too are being disciplined. More than 175 cops faced the music for not wearing the protective gear. But still many could be seen riding without the stuff,” quipped the DCP and added that such violators would also be brought in the net.
“From January to August this year, the Traffic Department of Nagpur Police have cracked down on 1,61,866 helmetless riders and recovered Rs 1.73 crore from them as fine. And it is counting. The cops who defied the order and roamed without the helmets too faced the music and were forced to cough up the stipulated fine,” the DCP stated.
By Ravikant Kamble
Pics by Shubham Kamble & Roshan Singh