| Wheeled menace: A Winger |
Nov. 10: Wingers, the medium-sized passenger vehicles, are rewriting traffic rules in Sivasagar town, creating impossible bottlenecks and unruly snarls.
These vehicles, with exclusive tourist permit, have been flouting traffic and motor transport rules and become a cause for worry for owners of passenger buses and other small vehicles.
The Wingers, with the blessings of the District Transport Office (DTO) in Sivasagar and police, now ply in every nook and corner of the district.
They pick up passengers from near the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) bus stand in Sivasagar town, violating traffic rules.
“The owners and the drivers of these vehicles care little about traffic norms. They often enter into nasty quarrels with the drivers and conductors of other buses and small vehicles. These vehicles illegally carry huge loads on the roofs, leading to accidents,” Rajib Borpatragohain, a resident of Sivasagar town, said.
In Sivasagar, these vehicles are parked near the ASTC bus stand, which is not meant for parking.
“The Sivasagar Municipal Board seems to be completely indifferent to the plight of the pedestrians. The traffic constables deployed near the ASTC bus station are mostly busy looking for opportunities to earn an extra buck,” a source said.
The traffic chaos near Sivasagar ASTC is worsening every day because of negligence of the traffic police personnel, ASTC authorities and the ever-increasing number of private vehicles illegally parked on either side of A.T. Road upto Station Chariali.
Whenever a complaint is lodged, the authorities prefer to pass the buck. If one complains to the Sivasagar Municipal Board, they shrug off the responsibility and say it is the Sivasagar district transport office’s duty. It then puts the onus on the traffic police and nobody takes the responsibility, Kartik Rajkonwar, a senior citizen of the town, alleged.
The district transport officer of Sivasagar, Dharani Dowerah, agreed that there had been some problems, but attributed it to a staff crunch.
“Most of these Wingers are owned by educated unemployed youths of the district. Time and again, we have been urging them to follow a certain set of rules, but unfortunately, they are not adhering to them,” Dowerah said.
A youth claimed that the DTO office in Sivasagar regularly takes money from Winger owners.