An auto-rickshaw plies on Sakchi-Bistupur Road on Friday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Taking lessons from the Delhi gang rape incident, East Singhbhum traffic department has decided to put auto-rickshaw drivers under a unique-number identity leash.
From January 2013, each of the 12,000-odd registered auto drivers will get a unique identity number on a badge that he will be required to wear so that it is clearly visible to commuters. In case he makes any lewd gesture — or worse — it will be easier for the woman commuter as well as the police to nail him down, thanks to the badge.
“We will be issuing the badges after getting a formal nod from East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Himani Pande. The process is likely to be completed in first week of January. We are in the process of computerising the files for issuing badges,” said East Singhbhum district traffic officer (DTO) George Kumar.
Auto-rickshaws, the most popular and affordable mode of transport, ferry over one lakh passengers, including girls and women a day.
District transport office (DTO) will start issuing badge numbers from mid-January. All auto-rickshaw drivers, including those registering vehicles in 2013, will have to get the number from the DTO office.
Currently, the district transport office is creating a database with complete information about the auto-rickshaw driver and three-wheeler, including driving licence, permit and contact numbers, address.
Each unique number will give the clue to not only the driver’s identity but also the vehicle — whether it has a commercial permit to ply in the city limits or in the outskirts and interiors.
Jamshedpur Sikhshit Berozgar Tempo Chalak Sangh said of the 12,000 auto-rickshaws registered under East Singhbhum district, 60 per cent are driven by professionals and the rest by vehicle owners.
Talking to The Telegraph, deputy superintendent of police (traffic) R.M. Sinha said the move would curb any “mischief” or traffic violation.
“We have seen based on past records that hired drivers of three-wheelers create nuisance. They tease girls, violate parking norms, harass passengers over fare. I must say molestation in auto-rickshaws is rare but we are taking all preventive measures for safety of girls and women and overall road discipline,” said the traffic DSP.
For women commuters, this comes as a welcome move.
“Young auto drivers who do not operate from any parking stand often make cat calls, play music at a large volume and deliberately screech their vehicles to a stop to scare us,” said Seema Kumari, a student of Graduate School College for Women in Sakchi.
Traffic police will carry out random checking drives from the five traffic police stations — Jugsalai, Mango, Sakchi, Bistupur and Golmuri — to ensure drivers wear the badges.
The traffic police will also take East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Himani Pande’s nod to issue orders to commercial bus and auto-rickshaw drivers to print owner’s name, contact number, address and registration number where commuters and passengers can see the data.
There are 80-odd buses plying in the city right now.
If drivers don’t obey the directive, offenders will be warned and fines would be levied later.
“We will fix the quantum of fine after talks with the district administration,” said the DTO.
Will the measure help police to rein in eve-teasers?