Nagpur: All the hues and cries over wearing helmet are not going to die down any time soon, which is clearly evident from the gesture of traffic department which swung into action after the High Court’s directives to strictly abide by the rule. However, the catch here is just wearing helmet would not let you go off traffic cop’s net ! The quality of the helmet will also be taken into account. Nagpur district Regional Traffic Officer DP Pawar told Nagpur Today that rule 129 of Central Motor Vehicle Act makes it mandatory both for the rider and pillion to wear only ISI marked helmets.
Senior officers from traffic department raised concern over rising road accidents which mostly involve two-wheelers. They viewed that wearing helmets should not just be made a compulsion but a massive campaign to contain the road tragedies. At present there are 12.13 lakh two-wheelers registered under Nagpur RTO. The number of motorcycle crash fatalities has more than doubled in recent times. This increase in fatalities could be because of high speed and modern motorcycles which are in vogue among the youngsters.
Talking to Nagpur Today Deputy Commissioner of Police Bharat Tangde who heads Nagpur Traffic Department said that that it is for the safety of the citizens that the helmet is made compulsory. However, after the action initiated on February 8, 2016, we have decided to give the citizens of Nagpur time of 5-6 days to purchase or procure their helmets.
Let it be known to everyone that it is compulsory from henceforth to wear a helmet while driving their two-wheelers. He added that no one is going to be exempted except Sikh men who wear Pagdi.
Helmet black marketing enrages citizens
As the rule sets in, helmets are being sold like hot cakes all over the city. Most shops and business establishments who usually sell motorcycle spare parts are seen selling helmets only for the past two days. Few of the customers blamed the present government for aping the Congress government who also had ensured compulsory wearing of helmet in 2002, but failed to carry the rule forward. Many customers buying helmets expressed their anger over having to buy helmets at exorbitant costs simply to escape the harassment of the cops.
However, an official of the traffic department claimed that they have asked the collectorate to ensure that sufficient numbers of helmets should be made available so that there is no black-marketing of helmets.
Some unscrupulous shopkeepers were also seen selling second-hand, used helmets at throwaway prices ranging from Rs 150/- to Rs 500/-. Some of these helmets were purchased in 2002 when the helmets were made compulsory. They had stocked it then but as the compulsion to wear helmet died down, the sales dwindled or stopped. These shopkeepers had taken out the old stock and were seen selling them at throw-away prices.
Social media runs rife with rumors…
In another novel way to misguide the citizens, some mischief mongers have started posting fake messages of wearing helmet not necessary as per recent directives of High Courts and other authorities within the city limits.
A message which went viral on Whatsapp claimed that wearing helmets is necessary on national and state highways and not within municipal limits. However, citizens are cautioned to beware of such mischievous and fake messages sent by unscrupulous elements.
Citizens should disregard such messages and follow the High Court’s directives of wearing the helmets while driving two-wheelers, said a traffic cop.
By Samuel Gunasekharan: Pics by Vinay Nimgade