Mumbai: ‘Tow’ the line or park car at your own peril
FPJ Photo

The Mumbai Traffic Police began a massive campaign against traffic violators on Friday. The civic department has loaned 36 towing vans to the traffic police. Now, motorists will have to shell out just the penalty for illegal parking, not towing charges. Police said that with the unlocking many motorists have started stepping out and are double parking or no parking zones.

As the city unlocks, vehicles on the roads have increased, resulting in traffic snarls and parking problems. Mumbai Traffic Police (MTP), while tackling the problems has started a crackdown on traffic violations and mainly the parking issues. The 36 towing vans will be stationed at various traffic stations across the city. “The city has 34 traffic chowkies. A towing van will be deployed at each chowky, leaving the other two on standby. While the vehicle's driver and helper will be employed by the civic contractor, a policeman will always accompany them to take photos of the vehicles parked in no-parking zones and impose a fine," said a senior traffic official.

Before the MCGM loaned out 36 towing vehicles, traffic police had to rely on towing vehicles from private contractors, for which tenders were floated. However, during lockdown, the towing vans were not required as lesser vehicles were there on the road. The private towing vans charge ₹400 as towing charges while the fine for parking in a no-parking area would be just ₹200.

"The MCGM towing vans will not charge towing charges and the motorists will be fined with a only a no-parking penalty of Rs 200," said Pravinkumar Padwal, additional commissioner of police (traffic).

The towing of vehicles is not a new practice, but will be reinstated after the lockdown. According to the statistics, last year, over 2,47,117 challans were issued for vehicle towing, attracting a penalty of ₹4.95 crore while this year 60,678 challans were issued for vehicle towing, attracting a penalty of ₹1,21,37,900.

"As a part of the campaign, the traffic police will have weekly crackdowns on use of black tinted films, those driving without helmet/seatbelts, riding triple seat, drunk driving, rash driving among others, to instil a fear and make the motorists more responsible and rule abiding. Additionally, the traffic department is also roping in 8000 NSS students for junction management, who will be helping traffic cops for about six hours per week, and will be imparted training and special uniforms," said Yashasvi Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic).

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