Maharashtra govt withdraws `No-helmet-no-petrol' rule for bikers

Wearing a helmet is not going to be mandatory for two-wheeler owners in Maharashtra to buy petrol from petrol pumps. The state government finally withdrew its proposed 'No Helmet No Fuel' rule amidst opposition from petrol pumps operators and two-wheeler owners.

However, as a compromise formula, Maharashtra government has asked pump operators to furnish details like vehicle number, name of the owner, etc, in lieu of allowing them to sell petrol to two-wheeler owners without helmet.

Petrol pump operators have been asked to furnish the details of the two-wheeler riders not wearing a helmet to the local Regional Transport Officers (RTOs) at regular intervals. Action will be taken against violators on the basis of this information.

Petrol pump operators, however, are not in a mood to bear the extra burden of noting down names and numbers and then informing the RTO. Rather, they have suggested that the government install CCTV cameras at petrol pumps to catch errant riders.

Petrol pump owners say any such responsibility will only lead to clashes between two-wheeler riders and petrol pump employees. Also, disputes may arise leading to court cases and pump owners and employees will be put to unnecessary burden of appearing in court cases.

The state government had proposed to implement the rule from 1 August, but it is now uncertain as to what action the government is planning to implement the helmet rule.

The rule was to apply in all cases, including in the case of pinion riders without helmet.

The government's decision, however, did not found any support from the Petrol Dealers' Association, civic activists and even political parties.

State transport minister Diwakar Raote justified the move saying that the decision was taken to ensure road safety and prevent increasing number of accidents.

Also, he said, the rule is in accord with the Supreme Court's strict directives to implement the Motor Vehicle Act.