A constable seizes an auto parked illegally at the Main Road overbridge in Ranchi on Friday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Over 10 autos were seized for illegally halting and parking on the busy Overbridge at Main Road on Friday during an impromptu drive led by traffic superintendent of police (SP) R.K. Prasad, who got cracking after being caught in a snarl.
Around 9.30am, Prasad, who is also the Ranchi city SP, was heading towards the police headquarters for a scheduled meeting with the DIG.
However, autos that stood haphazardly on the road — the queue started from 100 metres before the bridge — hindered traffic flow with Prasad’s vehicle also getting stuck in the jam. Irritated, the traffic SP asked the two jawans accompanying him to get down and clear the snarl.
The task wasn’t as easy as no traffic constable could be sighted at the spot. Left to fend for themselves, the jawsns tried their best to scare away the auto drivers, asking them not to halt at the Overbridge.
But who cared? Smug in the auto-cracy that they have established on the capital roads, the drivers brushed aside the morning diktat and went on picking up passengers.
“Aare saab usko pehle hatao na jaake. Passenger ko lene dijiye. (Sir, tell the other driver to move first. Let me take my passenger),” an auto driver even shouted as he moved a few metres ahead to again halt again on the bridge.
At the end of his tether now, Prasad decided to take matters in his hand. He swung out of the jeep and charged at the auto drivers. In what looked like a rip-off from a Hindi film, the police officer halted three autos one after the other (his jeep blocking the way from one side and he from the other) and directed them to Doranda police station. Many other three-wheelers met the same fate.
Moments later, two traffic constables surfaced from nowhere with excuses ready on lips. “We were trying to clear the traffic below the bridge,” one of them ventured.
In no mood to counter their claims, Prasad directed his deputies to launch a daylong crackdown at the bridge and other areas as well to stop illegal halting of public vehicles.
“From today, we are launching a crackdown on autos and buses violating parking rules,” he announced on spotting The Telegraph team.
But why is it not done daily?
“Honestly, it isn’t possible because we are short-staffed. We just have 200 hands (jawans and officials) in the traffic squad. The number needs to be increased at least three times to put things in order. One can’t even blame constables as they do 16-17 hours of duty every day. Moreover, prior announcements of the checking drives will serve no purpose as the drivers will be cautious then,” said Prasad.