The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Magnetic cards to curb crime on wheels

Alarmed at the spate of road mishaps caused by rash driving, the transport department is working on a proposal to introduce magnetic photo-identity cards for drivers in the city.

Transport department officials said on Saturday that the scheme would be implemented jointly with the traffic police.

“The card will help us get all the details about the vehicle so that we can track down culprits in case of a crime. We can find out whether the driver has been engaged by the owner and has a legal permit to drive,’’ said deputy commissioner of police, traffic, M.K. Singh.

According to the scheme, the photo-identity cards will contain the details of the owner of the vehicle and the driver, their names, addresses and identification mark. If a bus-owner engages three or four drivers, he has to obtain an equal number of cards, sources added.

Officials said the minimum cost of a card has been pegged at Rs 25, to be borne by the owner of the vehicle. Apart from featuring a computer bar, the card will be made in such a way that it cannot be tampered with. Initially, it will be introduced for drivers of commercial vehicles, including taxis and three-wheelers. The scheme will later be extended to other vehicles.

DC, traffic, Singh said the card would make it easy to trace a driver if he flees after committing a crime. “It takes a lot of time to round up an errant driver after an accident. Though addresses of drivers are available with the Public Vehicles Department (PVD), in many cases, the owners fail to provide information about them. But the magnetic card, the number of which will remain with the PVD, will help in such cases,’’ Singh explained.

Prashant, director of PVD, said the move is part of an attempt to streamline the city’s transport system. “Despite lack of modern technology and manpower, we are determined to discipline drivers and bring down crime on wheels,” he said.

nMore coaches: Five ordinary sleeper coaches and two general service coaches will be added to the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Super Deluxe Jnaneswari Express from February 23, South Eastern Railway sources said. According to the officials, the Mumbai-bound train, which is now fully air-conditioned, runs half empty. The new coaches will replace an AC 2-tier and two AC 3-tier coaches.

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