They had emerged as the newest killers on the capital's streets during the Commonwealth Games, but thanks to stricter regulation and prosecution of heavy vehicles, the Delhi Traffic Police's vehicle impounds have started resembling tractor showrooms.
"There was ubiquitous, ceaseless construction during the Commonwealth Games held in the city last year. As a result, tractors, which were used as carriers of construction material and debris by private contractors, were found to have claimed 41 lives on the city's streets. The corresponding figure for the previous year's fortnight had been just 28," said a senior traffic police officer.
Just three months after the number of people killed by their recklessness saw an increase of as much as 41%, not only has the number of fatal accidents that tractors were involved in dipped from five to two, as many as 246 of them have also been taken off the city's streets.
"As compared to January 2010, the number of accidents has seen a decline of almost 66%. This can only be attributed to the fact that we have impounded as many as 246 of them this month, as compared to just 82 last January," said Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police (traffic).
The Motor Vehicles Act is clear about the fact that there is no point in allowing the tractor, which is an agricultural vehicle, to ply in an urban setting.
In fact, tractors have claimed as many as 340 lives in the last decade.
Garg said that the steep increase in the number of tractors being sent to impound pits was part of a larger crackdown on errant heavy vehicles plying dangerously on the capital's streets.
"As compared to January 2010, we have already prosecuted 3,000 heavy truck vehicles (HTVs), 4,000 light goods vehicles (LGVs), 1,000 delivery vans and 553 tractors, instead of 271 last year," joint CP Garg said.
According to figures compiled by the Delhi Police, as many as 5,673 heavy vehicles have been impounded as compared to 4,209 in January 2010.
"Most of these vehicles have been prosecuted for Supreme Court violations, especially for offences such as their drivers not having proper licences," Garg said. "These prosecutions have made this fortnight the 26th consecutive one during which fatal road accidents have been found to be decreasing," Garg added.