Farrukhabad (Uttar Pradesh), April 11 (IANS) In the first such road safety promotion initiative in Uttar Pradesh, two-wheeler riders of this district will be denied fuel at petrol vends if they are not wearing helmets.
Following the directives of the newly appointed District Magistrate Rigzin Sampheal, the rule came into effect Monday in this district that has over 5,000 registered two-wheelers.
'The entire exercise is aimed to counter road accidents that turn fatal due to head injuries in the absence of helmets,' Sampheal told IANS.
'From now onwards, two-wheeler riders without a helmet would not be given fuel at petrol pumps. In a way, you can say helmets would act as passes for getting fuel for the vehicles,' he added.
The novel rule has been imposed after consultations with petrol vend owners.
'Recently, I had called a meeting of petrol pump owners to apprise them about my plan. They assured me of extending full support in its execution,' said Sampheal.
'Not only this, a novel suggestion also came from the side of the petrol pumps owners, who said that they could give a rebate of around 25 paise to those two-wheeler riders who were wearing helmets,' he added.
A final decision regarding the rebate is yet to be taken by the petrol pump association in Farrukhabad, some 200 km from Lucknow.
So what prompted Sampheal to adopt this novel road safety drive?
'It's been around one month since I took the charge here. During this short time, I came across several fatal accidents, involving government officials, students and others, in which the two-wheelers drivers were without any protective headgear.'
'I thought many lives could have been saved if only the riders were wearing helmets. It was then that I hit upon the idea of linking helmet with fuel,' he said.
Several teams of transport officials, traffic police and district police officers have been constituted to implement the rule.
'Such a move to promote road safety has been taken for the first time in any district of this state,' Inspector Dinesh Kumar, who is in charge of traffic management in Farrukhabad, told IANS.
Locals too hailed Sampheal for his initiative.
'We believe officials in other districts too will follow in his footsteps and promote safe driving,' said Rajiv Somvanshi, a retired school teacher.
Mohanlal Gaur, who owns a cyber cafe here, said: 'With the new rule, the riders will have no option but to wear helmets.'
(Asit Srivastava can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)