In a bid to make some fast money some youth have taken up the opportunity of the “no helmet, no petrol” policy and started renting out helmets outside petrol pumps or at a stone’s throw distance.
It may be recalled that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had recently launched the state-wide “Safe Drive, Save Life” campaign to reduce the rate of broad accidents in the city. Subsequently, the petrol pumps owners were directed not to provide petrol to any bikers if they come to refill their bikes without wearing helmet. A notice to let bikers know that they will not get petrol if they come without helmet is being displayed at every petrol pumps.
But it came as a boon to some youth, mainly those who run carriages near petrol refilling stations, which may dampen the spirit of the Chief Minister’s dream of making the state number one in following traffic norms.
Some youth were found sitting with around four to five helmets outside some petrol refilling stations on Berachapra-Haroa and Berachapra-Taki Road. They sit at the guard of a road side railing and keep the helmets under a table. They charge Rs 5 to rent out a helmet for each time and take Rs 8 if a person takes two helmets on for himself and another one for the pillion rider.
There are many people in the rural parts of the state who are still reluctant in using helmets while riding motorbikes. They are well aware of the routes inside the villages where they will not get caught by the police if they ride bike without a helmet.
Thus, they have not bought the headgears. But they are face problem when they going to petrol pumps without wearing helmets.Employees in the petrol refilling stations were found strict enough in not giving petrol if a biker is without helmet. Interestingly some of the employees of the petrol pumps were showing the youth to the bikers from whom they can take helmet just to put on while refilling their motorbikes.
Owner of a petrol refilling station said in a lighter tone that the youth have collected worn out helmets and set up a “business” outside the petrol pump without any investment. They keep the helmets under a table and check whether anyone is keeping watch on them before giving a helmet to a biker and taking money from him. The police have taken stringent steps soon after getting information about it. A police officer said that they have received such complaint from Deganga and steps have been taken to restrict it.
Bhaskar Mukherjee, Superintendent of Police, South 24-Parganas, said enforcement drive has been strengthened. At the same time awareness campaign to make people aware of the benefits of following traffic norms and using helmet while riding two-wheelers was also being carried out.