Parked your vehicles illegally? Beware, towing restarted in city again
Mumbai: The experiment that former Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Pandey started on March 7, this year with a diktat to not tow vehicles parked in no-parking zones is withdrawn and the traffic police have restarted the process after a gap of about five months.
Pandey had asked the traffic police to fine the owners of vehicles via e-challan, instead of towing. However, from August 1, Mumbai traffic police has gone back to the earlier mode of action of towing away vehicles parked outside designated parking zones.
Raj Tilak Roushan, deputy commissioner of police (Traffic HQ) said, “We have been receiving several complaints about vehicles parked illegally and the fines imposed via e-challans had failed to act as a deterrent. That was the key reason why the traffic department had to go back to towing illegally parked vehicles.”
The move has been welcomed by transport activists who were unanimous in their view about “strict enforcement” being the actual deterrent but also advocated that the city needs more pay and park facilities across the city. The activists said that the traffic department could also use clamps on vehicles as a deterrent.
Pramod Rajput, a social activist whose campaign led to a service road near NESCO in Goregaon, said, “The action of towing illegally parked vehicles is welcome. But the number of pay and parking facilities in the city is very less, and it is necessary to increase such facilities. It has to be a combination of both enforcement and facilities, in terms of increasing pay and parking, which would be an effective way to solve the issue.”
Ashok Datar, economist and transport analyst, expressed the need to update and improve the e-challan system. “Also, there is a need to create more pay and parks in the city to ensure that the issue of illegal parking is resolved,” he said.
According to the statistics provided by Mumbai traffic police, there are a total of 60 towing vehicles across Mumbai. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has given 10 vehicles to the traffic police for towing while the remaining 50 belong to a contractor.
But city residents seemed to be unaware of the decision taken by Mumbai traffic police to tow vehicles. Zameer Qureshi, director of Unique family restaurant, said, “I had travelled to south Mumbai and had parked my car not knowing that it could be towed. I faced a situation where my vehicle was being towed and I had to rush and stop my vehicle from being towed. I would have appreciated it if Mumbai traffic police had issued a notice warning people that your vehicle could be towed.”
Janet Agarwal, a chartered accountant, faced a similar situation. “I usually drive my car. But, yesterday, I rode my motorbike and parked it near Dadar railway station. After finishing work, when I went back, I couldn’t find my motorbike and felt that my vehicle was stolen. Then a nearby shopkeeper told me that my vehicle was towed by the Mumbai traffic police.”
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