Amid concern over the hefty fines for traffic violations, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday said even he has been fined for speeding on the Bandra-Worli sealink in Mumbai. Talking to reporters about the major decisions of the Modi-led government in its first 100 days, Mr. Gadkari said abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir was the “most important achievement” of the government. Criminalisation of instant triple talaq and the amended motor vehicles law were some of the big achievements of the Centre, he said.“Even I have paid a fine for speeding on the Bandra-Worli sealink,” Mr. Gadkari said adding that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his cabinet collegaue Gen V.K. Singh also got speeding challans. The Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, approved by President Ram Nath Kovind last month, aims at stricter punishment for violation of traffic regulations and to bring discipline on roads.“Passing the MV Act amendment is a big achievement for our government. The high fines will lead to transparency, and (will) not result in corruption,” Mr. Gadkari said.Claiming that overspending on fines has helped people to adhere to traffic rules, Mr. Gadkari said: “For the new over speeding rules all are equal be it lawyers, doctors or politicians. We have increased the fines to save lives of lakhs of motorists.” The minister said road engineering is a reason, along with auto engineering, for the high incidents of accidents in India.Amendment of MV Act will improve road safety and reduce the number of road accidents and lives lost on roads, Mr. Gadkari said.
As an idea, the Afro-Asian games is as outdated as Third World solidarity and South-South cooperation.It was mooted just after the success of the 1982 Asian Games, which changed Delhi’s geography and political economy. Salivating at the thought of a sequel, the Congress regime resolved to inaugurate the Afro-Asian Games on November 19, 1983, the anniversary of the Asiad.Now the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) plans to host the first Afro-Asian Games in November 2001, a mere 18 years too late. Nobody expects the Games to revolutionise Indian sport.The IOA’s president and vice-president – Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi and BJP MP Vijay Kumar Malhotra – are locked in a battle for the organising committee. By the IOA’s own calculations the Government will have to spend Rs 75 crore on the Games.Others treble the figure. The association was given numerous tax sops in the 2000-01 budget. If Kalmadi is so certain of success – and are demanding Rs 10 crore from Doordarshan for TV rights – why can’t they cock a snook at the state and mobilise adequate sponsorship? The IOA is not alone in its cussedness. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has made the dramatically fatuous announcement that it will withdraw from the next World Cup.It has decided to interpret the Sports Ministry’s directive that it avoid matches at “irregular” venues like Sharjah – a view the International Cricket Council shares – as lack of permission to take part in any multination tournament. That the BCCI faces a tax evasion inquiry is, of course, incidental. It is easy and often justifiable to criticise the government in this country. It says something for the IOA and the BCCI if they lack even the credibility to make their case believable.