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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Glare on unlicensed autos

Ranchi, Dec. 29: The city traffic police today cracked down on auto-rickshaws plying without permits on Ranchi’s roads, launching an awareness-cum-checking drive to curb movement of the unauthorised three-wheelers as the administration geared up to stage the first one-day international in Ranchi on January 19.

Superintendent of police (traffic) Chandrashekhar Prasad told The Telegraph the drive would continue for a few days until traffic was streamlined, adding that 33 auto-rickshaws were seized till 3pm.

“Auto-rickshaws in the city have always been a matter of concern for the traffic police, as they often cause congestion. All those auto-rickshaws, which were found running without valid road permit, were seized. The figure was 33 till 3pm and is likely to increase by evening,” he said.

The traffic police launched the drive in association with Jharkhand Pradesh Diesel Autochalak Sangh, keeping in mind the ODI between India and England that is likely to attract many to Ranchi.

General secretary of the sangh Sunil Singh said an awareness drive was necessary for drivers, who would play a vital role in keeping the city roads clear for guests coming to watch the cricket match.

“There are only 2,800 authorised auto-rickshaws in the city. But around 6,000 auto-rickshaws ply every day. This has led to traffic congestion. As an ODI is scheduled next month and people from across the country and abroad are expected to come, it has become necessary to regulate the movement of auto-rickshaws. So, we began the drive after a meeting with traffic police yesterday,” Singh said.

Auto-rickshaw drivers were also made aware of traffic rules and regulations and told not to park their vehicles at roundabouts, zebra crossings and bends. Apart from this, they were also asked to always be in uniform, behave properly with passengers and not to use abusive language.

The campaign was carried out in various places including Radium Road, which links Kutchery Chowk with Booty Road and Kanta Toli Chowk, a roundabout crossed auto-rickshaws everyday, and Kutchery.

However, Arjun Yadav, an auto-rickshaw driver, termed the exercise an eyewash. He also alleged that the actual motive of the administration was “to present a good image before the high court”.

“The high court will take up a case relating to auto-rickshaws on January 4. It is expected to take a decision regarding issuing permits for 2,000 auto-rickshaws,” he said.