Twin City Police Commissioner Sudhanshu Sarangi, soon after taking charge, is now leading the police to implement the recently introduced Motor Vehicles Amendment Act in his jurisdiction. After the initial struggles faced by the departments in its rollout, the top cop speaks to Orissa POST on the issue. Excerpts:
The new law has sparked a lot of debate. How do you see the new MV Act?
This legislation has been drafted by a committee of 20 transport ministers of different states. Then it has also passed through a lot of debate for the last 10 years and also been debated in the Parliament. Many are not happy with the hefty fines. But this law has been given by the people and to the people after a long discussion and keeping in mind the fatalities arising out of traffic offences. Around 1.5 lakh people die in road accidents every year.
Now paper related checking has been relaxed temporarily. What are the offences which police are still going to not tolerate?
There was some enforcement carried out by the transport department. From the beginning, I was very clear that we are not going to look for any papers whatsoever and prosecuting people for that. We were looking for five basic offences like not wearing helmets/ not using seat belts, triple riding, drunken driving and driving on the wrong side. This was the plan of the police but people failed to differentiate between what we are doing and what the transport department was doing. This created a panic on social media.
Is police accepting digital copies of DLs, RC through apps like DigiLocker or M-Parivahan during checks?
Yes, we are accepting the digital copies for spot verifications. We have database through which we can trace the original of such copies to ascertain the genuineness of the same. There is no issue on not carrying original copies of DL and RC and showing the digital copies but the more important issue is everybody using vehicles must have these.
What if the commuter does not have the cash on spot to pay the hefty fine?
There are Point of Sale (PoS) machines available with the traffic cops to get the online payment. On the other hand, there are other electronic ways to pay the traffic fine electronically through apps and websites. For non-compoundable offences like drunken driving offenders have to go through courts.
There was a recent infamous case of police-public clash at Rajmahal. Now what information you have on the issue?
There were a lot of rumours going around. A lady journalist hyped it up. She started checking the records of government vehicles. Soon some auto drivers joined her. They have been thrown out of business due to no permits. All wanted to inflate the situation. Live telecast of the conflict issues are barred as per law. Journalists have also been given reflective jackets for such situations which were not used. It was made to appear as if a big thing was happening there.
What will you do if people complain about cops not complying with traffic laws and show you proofs?
In the recent few days people have used old videos to target police with the debate on the new MV Act coming into effect. Earlier people used to use bricks against the police. Now, we are being bombarded with tweets. However, I have asked the policemen to comply with the law.
For the full video report, visit www.youtube.com/orissapostlive.