In January last year, the state government issued a circular mandating vehicles be fitted with a speed governor – an instrument to limit the top speed of a vehicle. The government even launched a highly-publicised campaign. However, one roadblock remains – the government is yet to decide on the company from which to purchase the device. The ‘Safe Drive, Safe Life’ campaign is one of Mamata’s most important social sector schemes, on the same plank as the politically significant ‘Kanyashree’ for young girls and food security campaign. A song and posters featuring a beaming Mamata are at the heart of the road security scheme launched in July 2016.
But fifteen months after the circular was released, along with the cursory declaration that the notification would have “immediate effect”, the biggest hurdle to the scheme remains the state transport department’s inability to decide.
“The point of disagreement is that one group within the department thinks the government should draw up a list of companies from where car manufacturers can purchase and fix speed governors.
“The other group says that the government does not have the right to tell private companies where they can buy these speed governors,” explained a source.
According to the January circular, certain vehicles not fitted with the speed governor are to be “equipped or fitted by the operator of such vehicle with speed governor” with pre-set maximum speeds for different categories – a maximum speed of 80 kms per hour for stage carriages, contract carriages and maxi cabs, omnibuses, tourist carriages.
For dumpers, tankers, school buses, transport vehicle carrying hazardous goods the speed limit was deemed to be 60 kms per hour.