The U.P. government is considering a reduction in the new penalties for breaking traffic rules, joining a growing band of States that find the fines listed in the amended Motor Vehicles Act too high. “In the interest of the people of Uttar Pradesh, the government is reconsidering what and how it should be done,” Transport Minister Ashok Kataria said on Thursday. “We will soon come out with the new rates,” said an official. The move follows similar decisions by some State governments, reluctant to accept the high fines.The BJP governments in Gujarat and Uttarakhand had announced reductions.Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had on Wednesday defended the steep increase, saying the States were free to roll them back. “If they want to reduce the fines let them, but the lives of people should be saved and there should be fewer accidents. There has to be awareness over this.” In U.P., Opposition Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav had criticised the hike in penalties.Slamming the State government over the death of a techie in Noida allegedly after an altercation with traffic police, Mr. Yadav on Wednesday demanded an end to the “harassment” of people.“It is very saddening that due to traffic terrorism of the BJP government, the software engineer died in Noida due to a cardiac arrest during vehicle checking,” he tweeted.“The BJP-ruled Gujarat has rejected the repressive rules. The UP government should also do so.”Under the amended Act, violations such as drunken driving attract a fine of ₹10,000 and/or imprisonment of six months to two years.Penalty for driving without licence was increased from ₹500 to ₹5,000. Not wearing a helmet can now lead to a fine of ₹1,000 and suspension of the driving licence for the next three months.
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