Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) officials booked six motorcyclists for illegal alteration of vehicles as part of Operation Race, a State-wide campaign for tightening enforcement against speeding motorists and illegal alteration of vehicles, which got under way on Wednesday.
The Ernakulam Regional Transport Office (Enforcement) under Regional Transport Officer G. Ananthakrishnan had deployed three squads for the campaign in the district.
In one instance, a student was booked at Pallikkara after the high-security number plate of his motorcycle was found tampered with the option to fold so that the registration number could be hidden away during the course of racing. “While he was not into reckless driving or racing when intercepted, the missing mudguard and tampering of number plate were clear giveaways that he was into racing. Folding the number plate helped hide the registration number of the vehicle from enforcement officials. The missing mudguard also endangered motorists behind him, especially during rain,” said Vijesh P.V. a motor vehicle inspector who intercepted the bike.
The rider was slapped with a fine of ₹5,000, which he was asked to pay once he produced the vehicle after restoring the original settings, failing which the registration certificate would be cancelled.
Another motorcyclist was also booked on the charge of illegally changing the position of the high-security number plate. “The number plate affixed by the manufacturer is not supposed to be changed,” said Mr. Vijesh. Another four motorcyclists were booked on the charge of replacing the original silencer with high-decibel ones.
“The drive will continue at least for a week, and we will deploy officials in plain clothes to detect motorcyclists engaged in racing and riding altered vehicles. Every alteration will entail a separate fine of ₹5,000, while racing will mostly lead to licence suspension,” said Mr. Ananthakrishnan. Container Terminal Road, Stadium Link Road, and Veli in Fort Kochi are among the favoured stretches for racing.
A senior MVD official said enforcement against racing motorists was often dicey, as they tend to speed away at the sight of officials. “We cannot risk chasing them, as it could lead to accidents, even potentially fatal ones. So, we prioritise enforcement based on the videos and images we receive on WhatsApp so that we can track their addresses,” he added.
Though not part of Operation Race, the MVD also booked seven stage carriers operating on the Cherai-Munambam stretch for playing loud music, on complaints by passengers.