The Kerala Government is likely to ask the Union Petroleum Ministry to instruct petrol dealers in the State to insist on helmet for dispensing petrol to two-wheeler riders, after the ‘no-helmet no-petrol’ campaign elicited a lukewarm response from the dealers.
Transport Commissioner Tomin J Thachankary has submitted a proposal to the Transport Secretary to request the Petroleum Ministry to instruct petrol outlets to insist on helmet for selling petrol. “We have launched a campaign in association with the petrol dealers, and have been monitoring the impact of the campaign. If the effort does not turn fruitful, we would consider taking up the request made by the Transport Commissioner,” said Transport Minister A K Saseendran. Earlier, the MVD had decided to implement the ‘no-petrol, no-helmet’ policy in Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode districts on August 1. However, its implementation was postponed following difference of opinion between the Ministry and the Department. Ultimately, the entire initiative was reduced to a campaign. “This is part of a policy decision, and the Department alone cannot implement it. We need to consult the Minister also,” said Transport Department Secretary K R Jyothilal, to whom the Commissioner had addressed the request letter. The letter from the Transport Commissioner, dated August 8, 2016, highlights the importance of approaching the Petroleum Ministry for implementing the helmet rule. According to the Commissioner, enforcing the law and penalising the offenders with the available human resource will not yield any immediate result. “In 2015, 1,330 persons lost their lives in accidents involving two-wheelers. Though all two-wheeler riders are legally bound to wear helmet, even while visiting fuel outlets, it would not be appropriate to insist on helmet for dispensing petrol. Legal backing is inevitable to make this life-saving movement successful,” stated the letter. Thachankary in his letter also stated that enforcing the law round-the-clock throughout the year would be practically impossible.“Such systems have been implemented in some of the states, like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, and Odessa, with the intervention of the Central Ministry of Petroleum,” pointed out the letter.