Kerala rear seat belts row: Minister reverses order, Transport Commissioner goes on leave
Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
Thiruvananthapuram: Notwithstanding the concerns expressed by the Centre and experts about more road safety measures to avoid road accidents, Kerala Transport Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan has said that it is not possible to enforce the rule making wearing of seat belts compulsory for rear seat passengers in the state.
Reports said on Monday that the minister had earlier made a similar statement in the Kerala Assembly and repeated the same on Saturday, adding that such a rule is not implemented anywhere in the country.
Radhakrishnan made this statement in the wake of reports that Transport Commissioner Rishi Raj Singh was unhappy with the Minister who has now rescinded Singh’s order of June 5 making it compulsory for passengers on the rear seats of vehicles to wear seat belts.
After the Minister reversed his order, Singh has now decided to go on a month-long leave.
“Singh came under fire when this issue was raised in the Assembly on Friday and was dismissed as a person who resorts to gimmicks to attract media attention. “
Such an order is not there anywhere in our country and in Kerala 80 percent of the vehicles do not have rear seat belts, said Radhakrishnan.
I have no idea if Singh has applied for leave, he said when asked.
Singh is said to be a stickler for rules and over the years he has rubbed many politicians the wrong way. Even though Singh is a senior police official, he has mostly got non-police postings.
Singh’s order came soon after the medical reports of Union Minister Gopinath Munde, who died in a car accident in Delhi, indicated that his life could have been saved if he had worn a seat belt while occupying the rear seat .
Interestingly on Saturday, Union Minister for Health Harsh Vardhan demanded that the law for wearing rear seat belts in vehicles should be enforced. He said that he has spoken to his cabinet colleague who handles the Surface Transport portfolio about this issue.
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