Jorhat, Aug. 26: Wearing a helmet was never so sweet for bikers and their pillion riders, with Jorhat police coming up with a sweet ’n sour recipe to make people wear helmets.
Those who donned headgear were in for a pleasant surprise with the police doling out toffees as a reward. But for those who didn’t, a fine was the consequence.
Traffic policemen in the Upper Assam town adopted a “token reward and punishment” mode to ensure that bikers, especially youths, do not violate the traffic rule of wearing helmets.
Jorhat superintendent of police Sanjukta Parasor said she hoped that the move would ensure that two-wheeler riders take to protective gear.
“We gave out 300 toffees today and will continue to do so as long as everyone who can afford to wear a helmet does so,” she said.
The SP further said with funds running low, she was trying to contact some non-governmental organisations for help.
I. Ali Bora, a traffic inspector, said with temperatures soaring, it was becoming a difficult task for the police to force bikers to wear helmets.
“We are doing our utmost to ensure that their heads are protected but the people are not bothered. They prefer to pay the Rs 100 fine instead of wearing a helmet in this heat. Many girls are also averse to wearing helmets for fear that it will spoil their hairdo and they also pay up,” he said.
Bora further said their hands were tied by Section 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act which stipulates that the fine should be only Rs 100. “We cannot hike this to Rs 500 or more from our side so that people feel the pinch when paying up. For most motorcycle owners paying Rs 100 is quite easy,” he further said.
A source said the government had fixed a target of Rs 12,000 per day to be paid by the police for Jorhat district and that they were able to collect on an average Rs 16,000 to Rs 17,000 per day for various traffic violations.
A month ago in Golaghat district, the traffic policeman had adopted the Gandhigiri way of dealing with traffic violators by offering a betel leaf and areca nut to those who violated the rules.
Bobita Bora, a resident of Golaghat said that she had been surprised to see traffic police approach offenders who were parking in “no parking” zones and driving into “no entry” roads with a paan and tamul and politely requesting them to park their vehicles in the assigned places.
The strategy seems to have worked. “The offenders were surprised and embarrassed at the same time when the traffic police offered them the betel leaf and areca nut in place of slapping a fine,” she said.