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January 27, 2020

Transport owners bring govt to knees

Lahore

January 27, 2020

Islamabad:The government made an effort to control the chaos on our highways and roads to save peoples’ lives and properties by slightly increasing the traffic rules violations fines. The new fines were supposed to be implemented from 1st January, 2020.

Keeping in view the commotion prevailing on our roads and streets in the cities as well as the one bears on highways, expressways and motorways, the step seemed the most welcome one. But alas! That was not to be.

The truckers and the transporters, the major cause of most of fatal accidents and traffic disruptions were up against the implementation of revised fines. And like a mafia, that they indeed are, they immediately went on a country-wide strike paralyzing life in major cities and blocking the roads, highways and motorways!

And the government crumbled like a termite eaten log under pressure mounted by the trucker and transport mafias as it put the implementation of new fines on the hold. A senior officer in the National Highways and Motorway Police (NH&MP), while talking to ‘The News’ said that it was disappointing to see the government bow to their pressure, which certainly amounts to blackmailing.

He said that it was after long deliberations between the stakeholders from all over Pakistan that these fines were revised upwards after 20 years.

“Enough time was given for publicity of these revised fines. However, the day those were put in place from 1st January 2020, first the mill owners and truckers went on strike against the ‘Axle Load Law’ and brought the goods transportation to a halt all over the country. Within two days the government withdrew the notification.

“Soon after the public transporters followed the suit and once again the government didn’t had the courage to put its foot down and implement a law aimed at public safety, prevent damage to road network all over the country and maintain a smooth flow on our motorways, expressways, highways, roads and streets as the notification was put on hold,” the traffic police officer said.

“Just imagine what they are demanding! That they should be allowed to continue violating all the rules and laws, keep killing people on the roads, smash vehicles, disrupt traffic and create chaos on the roads and highways! And if they do so, they should not be fined an amount that would make them feel a slight pinch, cautioning them to be careful the next time they may think about violating a traffic law.”

He said that the government revised these fines after almost about two decades. And this slight upward revision of fines was not aimed at collecting revenue but to make those breaking the laws realize that they have a price to pay for breaking the law that would feel heavy on their pockets.

In fact, implementation of these fines may work the other way round and revenues earned from traffic fines may decline markedly if people stopped violating the laws! And eventually it would bring some order back on our roads.

“Now,” the NH&MP officer added, “what the government is trying to do by imposing these slightly raised fines for traffic rules violations is to make the truckers, transporters, the motorists and especially the rickshaw drivers and bickers to become disciplined and follow the laws while driving and transporting, both people and merchandise!”

Apparently, there is no reason the government should not show some spine, put its foot down and implement these fines immediately. And for the truckers, transporters and motorists, they should feel comfortable because this increase in fines is preventive and not punitive.

“You don’t have to pay a fine if you don’t break a law!”