From slyly exchanging helmets outside petrol pumps to long-drawn arguments with staff, day one of the ‘No Helmet, No Fuel’ policy implemented across Noida and Greater Noida saw much drama across at least five petrol pumps Saturday.
The policy was announced two weeks ago by the administration, after they held meetings with petrol pump owners, in a bid to promote road safety. “Fuel will not be provided to two-wheelers if either the driver or the pillion rider are found without helmets,” Gautam Budh Nagar District Magistrate B N Singh had said.
Even as hoardings and banners adorned the pumps, several motorists without helmets were spotted waiting in line to get fuel.
A staffer at a petrol pump in Greater Noida told The Indian Express, “It has not been implemented properly. Police should be stationed close to the pumps to check if motorists are wearing helmets and fine those who aren’t. We have to give them petrol if they come in wearing helmets — whether they borrow or it’s their own is not our problem”.
A manager at a Greater Noida pump refused petrol to riders exchanging helmets inside the pump. “Go outside and wear a helmet and come here. I will not let you share helmets inside,” he told two motorists.
At other pumps, clueless riders argued with staffers about being denied petrol, while some pleaded to be exempted. A Greater Noida resident stood at a petrol pump for a few extra minutes as other riders borrowed his helmet.
“Right now, the implementation is flawed… In the coming days, I hope it gets better as people are made more aware”.
At a pump in Noida Sector 18, the manager said even a police officer was turned away. “I told him about the policy, he still insisted… so I asked him to make me speak to his superior or leave… he left,” said the manager.
Managers said they were directed to note down vehicle numbers of people threatening violence and share it with police. “People argued, pleaded but nobody got violent,” said a manager.
DM Singh said: “The response has been good so far. As per our feedback, people have been co-operating with petrol pump management. Of course any step like this will take its own time, but gradually it will be a success.”