Thursday , 19 September 2019
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Govt agencies must ban airhorns and modified bikes

Any alteration or modification in cars, motorcycles and scooters is illegal, but hundreds of modified or altered vehicles can be seen plying on the roads in the state. Many people, especially young owners, openly indulge in such illegalities because the government agencies have not undertaken a campaign to deter them. Most of the bike owners modify their exhaust system and horns which create horrifying noise, but they do it because they feel ‘macho’ running their bikes up and down the streets. Their intention is to draw people’s attention towards them. Four wheelers, including buses, attach air horns and multi-tone horns. Bus drivers blow ear-splitting airhorns to announce their imminent departure to passengers at distances near and far. Constant blowing of airhorns and the thunder and rumble of modified motorcycles affect the physical and mental health of the citizens. Some violators derive pleasure out of scaring other drivers and pedestrians by blowing their scary horns when they are close to them. The transport department must conduct a special drive to catch such owners and fine them repeatedly and cancel their licences so that there is deterrence. Despite complaints from citizens, especially senior citizens and those who are sick, action is still awaited to penalise the law breakers.

According to Section 52 of the Motor Vehicles Act, “No owner of a motor vehicle shall so alter the vehicle that the particulars contained in the certificate of registration are at variance with those originally specified by the manufacturer.” However, this law is not enforced, encouraging people to modify their vehicles and cause health troubles and public nuisance. It has to be noted that automobile companies spend millions of dollars on research and developing specification for vehicles and ensuring their safety on road. These specifications are thereafter cloned and vehicles produced with safety standards embedded into them. Automobile experts are of the opinion that in case any component or part is altered and modified to suit the aesthetics and mood of the owners of the vehicles, there is possibility of the whole system operating differently leading to vehicles going out of control and resulting in accidents. The safety measures embedded in vehicles at the production stage are compromised when vehicles are modified and their specifications altered.

The stores and workshops in the state engaged in illegal modification of the vehicles are doing a roaring business, with vehicles coming regularly for alteration and modification for a small cost. The transport department must raid these stores and workshops and force them to stop selling modification equipment and fixing it. Not only high-end cars and two-wheelers such as Bullet, KTM, Ninja, Benelli 300, Bajaj Pulsar and Dominar are modified, but also ordinary scooters like Activa and Deo. The alterations to the exhaust result in highly disturbing and annoying reverberations as the vehicles pick up speed. Modifications of the vehicles bring joy to their owners but for people, especially the elderly and the sick, they rob them of their sleep and ease of living. In the night these thunders can awaken them from sleep. The apathy of transport and police departments in acting against the violators forced the elderly and sick citizens to approach this newspaper to highlight their woes. The police had started a drive against vehicles causing noise pollution when Muktesh Chander was the director general of police but they did not continue with it.

The Supreme Court has ruled that any alteration or modification done in a car or bike is illegal and can attract heavy penalty. It is time for the transport department to crack the whip against the violators. The apex court has said that particulars of the vehicles, which have been specified by the manufacturer for the purpose of entry in the certificate of registration, cannot be altered and their violation can attract heavy penalties. The transport and police departments as well as the Goa State Pollution Control Board must start a coordinated campaign to end the unbearable torment of private bus airhorns and modified bikes’ exhausts.

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