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Government servants flout helmet-must order in Ranchi

Constables at secretariats too scared to bar ‘bare-headed’ employees but transport boss optimistic

By Raj Kumar in Ranchi

  • Published 29.08.19, 12:56 AM
  • Updated 29.08.19, 12:56 AM
Visitors without helmets enter Nepal House in Doranda, Ranchi, on Wednesday and a constable at the gate gives a gentle helmet reminder to riders
Visitors without helmets enter Nepal House in Doranda, Ranchi, on Wednesday and a constable at the gate gives a gentle helmet reminder to riders (Manob Chowdhary)

Nearly one week after the August 22 directive of Jharkhand joint transport commissioner banning the entry of two-wheeler riders without helmets in government offices to promote safe riding, several commuters without helmets were spotted at two secretariats in the capital on Wednesday.

Between 10am and 11.20am, the morning rush hour, The Telegraph team visited Nepal House in Doranda and Project Bhavan in Dhurwa to see if government servants and visitors wore the mandatory helmets.

However, riders without helmets rode right in. No one stopped them. There was no board at either secretariat saying “no helmet, no entry”.

A constable deputed at the gates of Nepal House said they had not received any copy of the order. “We’ve been verbally asked to restrict the entry of riders without helmets. But we are afraid of doing so as most people coming to the secretariat are influential, even if they ride two-wheelers. We don’t want to incur anyone’s wrath. At the most, we just point out to a commuter that he’s not wearing a helmet. Without a senior, who are we to bar someone’s entry?” the constable said.

A constable at the gates of Project Bhavan agreed with his Nepal House colleague.

“Secretariat employees have a strong union. They do not consider themselves any less powerful than the chief minister. If we tell all those without helmets to go back and they face an attendance problem later on, they’ll start an agitation and we will be in trouble,” he said. “That’s why we only can tell them very diplomatically to respect the helmet order. Some oblige. Some don’t,” he said, pointing out that an order like this was difficult to implement.

In-charge of secretariat security, deputy superintendent of police Jai Prakash Singh supported the constables. “The no-helmet, no-entry directive will be enforced gradually. Enforcing any order all of a sudden causes problems. Also, we have so far not received any formal (read written) directive,” he said.

However, when the person who issued the directive, joint transport commissioner (road safety) Ravi Shanker Vidyarthi, was contacted by this paper, he said the impact of the order was already being felt in many places.

“We have very positive reports from districts like Koderma and Palamau where respective district transport officers have caught many government officials for coming to office without helmets and imposed fines on them. I hope we get similar reports from all districts soon. As far as a board carrying a warning message is concerned, these will be installed soon (at government offices),” Vidyarthi said.

He added that the order was given to promote road safety and make government employees ambassadors in the cause. “If you consider the profiles of accident victims as a whole, about 33 to 35 per cent people are those who ride two-wheelers and are between the ages of 18 and 40 years. Among the two-wheeler-riders who died in road accidents, 85 per cent are those who don’t wear helmets,” he said.

“In cities and bigger towns, there is some system to check this (CCTV cameras on road junctions, traffic cops, among others),” he said. “But in rural areas, there is usually no one to check. Once this directive is embraced by government servants and visitors to all government offices, society as a whole will get a strong message in favour of wearing helmets. The message will percolate in rural areas too,” Vidyarthi added.

He added the rule was not new, the only new thing was that they were being strict about its implementation.

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