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Assam Revises Traffic Rules: Fines for Document Discrepancies Removed to Ease Commuter Burden

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In a significant move aimed at reducing the financial burden on commuters and simplifying traffic regulations, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced major changes to traffic fine regulations during a cabinet briefing held in Nalbari today. These changes, effective immediately, target two-wheelers, auto-rickshaws, and rickshaws, especially benefiting the economically vulnerable sections of society.

Reforms to Support Economically Vulnerable Commuters

The revised rules come in response to what has been described as unjust treatment towards auto-rickshaw drivers and other low-income commuters. The Assam CM emphasized the government’s commitment to alleviating unnecessary financial stress on these individuals.

“These changes are designed to simplify the rules for two-wheelers and reduce financial burdens on commuters, particularly the economically vulnerable sections of society,” said CM Sarma.

Key Changes in Traffic Regulations

One of the most notable changes is the removal of fines for document discrepancies for two-wheelers. From now on, fines will be imposed solely for helmet violations, providing significant relief to many riders who previously faced hefty penalties for missing or incorrect documents.

For auto-rickshaws and rickshaws, the approach to fines has also been adjusted. Initially, no fines will be imposed for first-time violations. Instead, penalties will be applied only after repeated offenses, defined as five or more instances. This change aims to offer a more lenient and fair treatment, reducing the undue harassment often faced by drivers.

Implementation and Enforcement

To ensure smooth implementation, the transport department has been directed to establish clear Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). These SOPs will help streamline enforcement and ensure that the revised rules are applied consistently across the state.

“We are against undue harassment,” stated CM Sarma, highlighting the modest revenue of approximately 6-7 crores from fines collected last year. “Targeting poor individuals over such minor amounts is unacceptable,” he added.

Recent Trends in Traffic Violations

Despite these reforms, the number of challans issued for traffic rule violations and the penalties recovered has seen a significant increase in recent years. In 2023 alone, Assam issued a total of 10.39 lakh challans and recovered an amount of Rs 108.91 crore in penalties, according to data from the e-challan database.

The upward trend continued into 2024, with over 1 lakh e-challans issued to traffic rule violators and Rs 5.38 crore recovered in just the first month of the year—from January 1 to 29, 2024.

A Balanced Approach to Traffic Management

These changes reflect Assam’s balanced approach to traffic management, where the focus is on easing the burden on commuters while still maintaining road safety and order. The government’s decision to revise traffic rules is seen as a progressive step towards fairer treatment of all road users, particularly those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

As the new rules take effect, it remains to be seen how they will influence the overall compliance with traffic regulations in the state. However, the move has already been welcomed by many, who see it as a necessary adjustment to support vulnerable commuters while promoting a more humane approach to traffic enforcement.

Conclusion

The revision of traffic rules in Assam, spearheaded by CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, marks a significant shift towards more compassionate and equitable treatment of commuters. By removing fines for document discrepancies and adjusting penalties for auto-rickshaw drivers, the government aims to reduce financial stress on the economically vulnerable while ensuring road safety.

These reforms are a testament to the government’s commitment to fair and effective traffic management. As Assam implements these changes, the state sets a precedent for other regions to follow, balancing the need for regulation with the imperative of social justice.

With the updated rules now in place, Assam’s commuters can look forward to a fairer, less burdensome approach to traffic enforcement, reflecting a progressive vision for the state’s road safety and management policies.

Also read: GAMING BOOM: HOW ESPORTS IS POSITIVELY TRANSFORMING THE INDIAN GAMING INDUSTRY 2024

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