Tura: The Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP) Garo Hills Zone, through a letter to the deputy commissioner of West Garo Hills expressed concern over the implementation of the Motor Vehicles Act after a viral video showed that students in queue were denied bus services.
The students were reportedly on their way to schools in the districts of West and South West Garo Hills.
The NGO said that it was clear through the video that the handyman was blocking the entry of school children on the bus.
“We met the employees of the travel agency under which the line bus operates and were informed that they have been forced to do so as Tura traffic police has recently been imposing fines for buses ferrying standing passengers. As students usually don’t buy tickets, they travel as standing passengers,” informed general secretary, Matsrang Sangma.
The bus owners were said to be fined an amount of Rs 2000 for carrying standing passengers, which compelled the bus services to stop students from boarding, to avoid paying the hefty fines, through challans.
Interestingly, when the challans were produced before the NGO, it was found that the fines were imposed under “Disobedience of order of Authorities, MVA 179(1) for an amount of Rs 2000.
The MVA 179(1) states that “Whoever willfully disobeys any direction lawfully given by any person or authority empowered under this Act to give such direction or obstructs any person or authority in the discharge of any functions which such person or authority is required or empowered under this Act to discharge, shall, if no other penalty is provided for the offence be punishable with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.”
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“We do not understand how the MVA 179(1) and ‘standing passengers’ in a bus correlate and how is it possible for someone to issue a challan against an offence above the maximum cap for the offence as the maximum offence for fine under MVA 179(1) is Rs. 500,” the FKJGP said.
If there are any legislations against standing passengers inside a bus, the FKJGP urged the government to exempt this legislation in the whole of Garo Hills Region, which is economically backward.
“Certain legislations which are made in context of larger metropolitan cities should not be implemented in other backward regions,” additional general secretary, Tengsmart Sangma said.
The FKJGP hoped that the office of the SP and the DTO would work together on the matter and ensure that the student community amongst others are not impacted, especially in a region, where public transport is at a bare minimum.
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