Motor Vehicles bill: Opposition accuses govt in Lok Sabha of encroaching on powers of states through provisions of draft law

  • Some Opposition members on Tuesday accused the Centre of trying to take away powers of states with certain provisions of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill

  • The central government is already in control of seaways, airways and trains, and is now trying to control roadways as well, said DMK leader Kanimozhi

  • Lok Sabha had begun discussion on the bill on Monday, with Gadkari asserting that it will weed out corruption, improve road safety and usher in use of technology to regulate traffic

New Delhi: Some Opposition members on Tuesday supported safety and traffic violation aspects of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, but at the same time accused the Centre of trying to take away powers of states with certain provisions of the draft law.

 Motor Vehicles bill: Opposition accuses govt in Lok Sabha of encroaching on powers of states through provisions of draft law

File image of the Lok Sabha. PTI

In Lok Sabha, DMK's Kanimozhi and Trinamool Congress' Saugata Roy asked Transport and Highways minister Nitin Gadkari, who was present in the House, to incorporate suggestions offered by their parties in the bill. Kanimozhi said Gadkari may have assured the Opposition that it is up to states to follow many provisions of the bill but said it was not enough as government and ministers are liable to change with time.

The central government is already in control of seaways, airways and trains, and is now trying to control roadways as well, she said. She also objected to the bill's provision that does away with the need for any education for a driver.

In a veiled dig at Gadkari, she said he is a very effective minister but has made some "very tall and big" promises like many claims of the Narendra Modi government. She also added that he is one of the most humble ministers who speak convincingly and the way he listened to Opposition members over their concerns was admirable.

Roy spoke in support of the bill's safety and road violation provisions but added that it has gone into the realm of the state government's powers. The TMC leader also called for taking measures to reduce the number of cars on roads in big cities and encouraging people to shift to mass transport. Enforcement is key and strict laws alone will not do, he said, asking the minister to do "hand-holding" of states and not usurp their powers.

He called Gadkari a "dream merchant" but added that India needs "dreamers" like him who can think big. Corporates should not be allowed to enter the transport sector, he added.

Participating in the debate, Prataprao Jhadav (Shiv Sena) said the government should ensure that there is no infringement on autonomy of states. Even the Maharashtra transport minister has raised some concerns on powers of states, he said, adding the minister will take the concern into account.

Another ally of the ruling government, JD(U) member Kaushlendra Kumar said rights of states should not be infringed upon. Chandrani Murmu (BJP) sought to understand from the
minister as to who will provide funds - Centre or state governments.

Supriya Sule (NCP) said since it is not compulsory for all states it may not be a seamless process. She also said that there are four different views in the government with regard to providing subsidy to electric vehicles. S Jothimani (Cong) said the Bill seems to be infringing upon power of states and the minister should look into the issue so that federal structure of the country is maintained.

Lok Sabha had begun discussion on the bill on Monday, with Gadkari asserting that it will weed out corruption, improve road safety and usher in use of technology to regulate traffic.

Updated Date: Jul 23, 2019 17:11:15 IST