The functioning of the traffic police is intriguing, if not frustrating. A trip to the traffic control room at Nampally teaches one a lesson that the traffic police of Hyderabad do not work for compliments, literally. Their decade-old ways of trying to solve traffic issues, most notably towing away vehicles parked on the wrong side, continues to cause inconvenience to the public, who despite the awareness campaigns about traffic and police, continue to be unaware of the limits to which traffic police flout their own system.
Gangadhar Rao, a businessman at Koti was shocked to see his vehicle missing from Bank Street late in the night. “I first thought that it got stolen, but the vendors nearby informed me that it had been towed away,” he said.
Gangadhar approached the Sultan Bazaar traffic police station and was stunned to find out the workings of the system.
“To get my vehicle back, they have to first issue a chalaan which needs to paid at the control room in Nampally. After that, I need to come back to Sultan Bazaar to claim my vehicle,“ he rued. The absence of the sub-inspector in-charge added to his many woes.
This manner of enforcing law is a farce in its own way. Suppose a citizen were to illegally park his vehicle in the suburbs of Hyderabad, say Gachibowli. And after the vehicle is towed away, he or she is then required to first find out if it was stolen or towed away, and then search for their vehicle in the myriad police stations and then travel halfway through to the City and back just to pay a fine and claim their vehicle back.
Dinkar Sharma says, “First of all, there is no clear mention of a parking or a no-parking zone in certain parts of the City. While they enforce their rules with utmost sincerity, they tend to blur out the bigger offenders — street hawkers, pedestrians jumping traffic signals and fake policemen. The King Koti area is the biggest hub of violators. All public space has been encroached, including pavements, by the motor bike shops that run their businesses there. Why is policing limited to certain parts of the City ?”
Towing away vehicles is deemed redundant in many countries. Despite modernising the chalaan system, the task of paying one is cumbersome and inefficient. Commissioner of traffic, CV Anand, was unavailable for comments.
However, a traffic constable at Punjagutta admitted that some vehicles are towed away to fill up cases and show that work is being done.
“While checking two wheelers, we tend to leave out the middle aged men and drivers with families, as they mostly tend to abide by rules. Our focus is upon the youth, where 5 out of 10 cases will flout rules,” he says.
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