Mumbai: A day after a two-km Lakshman Rekha was drawn for those stepping out of their homes, the Mumbai Police impounded over 16,291 vehicles in extensive checks at nakabandis across the city on Monday, the highest number of vehicles impounded in a single day since the lockdown was announced.
These multiple check points also resulted in massive traffic jams on Western Express Highway (WEH) and Eastern Express Highways (EEH) on Monday morning, causing traffic congestion for over three hours.
Local police stations and the traffic police conducted extensive checks in a crackdown on motorists found plying outside the 2km-radius without a valid reason. Only workers of essential services, people heading to office or those travelling in cases of medical emergencies are exempt.
The local police stations had set up 137 checkpoints across the city and checked over 30,072 vehicles and impounded 7,680 vehicles. This includes 6,640 four-wheelers, 11,579 two-wheelers and 1,366 three wheelers. They registered 6,860 cases under the Motor Vehicles Act. Meanwhile, the Mumbai traffic police impounded a total of 8,611 vehicles on Monday, which includes 474 autos, 295 taxis, 1,601 private cars and 6,241 motorcycles.
While issuing the new guidelines on Sunday, the Mumbai Police had warned that anyone found violating the norm would be booked and their vehicle would be impounded compulsorily.
Those caught in the traffic took to social media to vent their ire, blaming the police and their barricades kept along the way for causing the traffic snarls. Not only were office goers stuck in the traffic congestion, some ambulances too were caught in traffic. Social media users slammed the Mumbai Police's decision to conduct checks during peak hours on a weekday.
A motorist, who was travelling in a car bound for Andheri was stuck in traffic for over two hours, and blamed the police’s checks. "Police have been checking vehicles and impounding those found without reasons. What's surprising is that they are parking the impounded vehicles right beside the check points, adding to the already worse traffic woes," said the motorist.
Essential service workers, who are allowed to travel and go to work, also found themselves stuck in traffic with those who had no valid reason to transgress the two-km radius.
A doctor said, "I had left home at Vikhroli around 8am to attend to patients, only to reach the clinic at Grant Road after 11.30am. This is utter harassment of public. In fact, all main roads were blocked and forced to be an obstruction of essential services."