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Smoother, safer Mumbai ride

india Updated: Nov 07, 2008 01:39 IST
Megha Sood

The drive against drink-driving in Mumbai has almost reduced to half fatal accidents on the city’s roads, senior traffic police officials have claimed.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Harish Baijal, the key official supervising the drive, told the Hindustan Times that the number of fatal accidents had come down to 377 from 632 in a year. The drive was launched on June 20, 2007.

Punitive action against errant drivers is said to have acted as the main deterrent. On Wednesday, a magistrate’s court sentenced Borivali-based estate agent Jay Arvind Upadhaya (30) to six months of simple imprisonment and cancelled his driving licence. It was the second time that he had been caught driving drunk in October.

Early this year, Kamlesh Solanki, a 21-year-old office assistant in a private firm, was sent to jail for two years while Chandrakant Shinde (23) was sentenced to three-month imprisonment for repeating the offence.

With more than 1.5 million vehicles on the roads, the traffic police have been trying to discipline drivers for a smooth ride.

In the first year of the drive, 2,623 drivers were jailed for a period of less than three months, the figure jumped to 7,233 this year, the traffic police said.

While the licences of 2,798 drivers were suspended in 2007, 7,062 had been impounded till November 4 this year. Till October, 13,856 persons had been caught, in 2007, the figure stood at 11,416.

“If I say the drive has been successful, it will be like blowing one’s own trumpet, but we have succeeded in sending the message — don’t drink and drive — across to Mumbai’s drivers,” said Baijal. “Though the drive has completed a year, we are continuing it with the same zeal and strictness,” he said.

P.A. Thakur, a criminal lawyer, said the jail term to Upadhaya was an example of proper execution of law by enforcers.

“The traffic police are absolutely right in sending repeat offenders to jail. The law is there but the police should execute it properly,” he said.