| Trucks stuck on Gandhi Setu. Picture by Sachin |
Drivers of long-distance trucks have started enacting a breakdown drama on Gandhi Setu to shift focus of policemen from penalising overloaded vehicles.
A police officer said with the 5.575km bridge turning into a traffic nightmare for the men in uniform, some transporters nowadays use a quirky trick. “Some drivers deliberately stop their vehicles on the pretext of a snag and stop, especially during the night hours in the one-way portion of the bridge. When these happen, a jam starts to develop automatically and the cops on the bridge have no other way but to focus on clearing the snarl somehow. The check-posts are left empty and the driver immediately starts to move dodging the police,” a police officer said.
Office-holders of the Bihar Truck Owners’ Association also accepted the new phenomenon.
“It is slowly turning out to be a frequent affair. There are many transporters who, in a bid to make more money, overload their trucks. They don’t care about putting their vehicles on the weighbridge. They (truck drivers) will just stop their overloaded vehicles and pull up the bonnet stating that the vehicle has developed a problem. The policemen on the bridge stops checking and the focus is shifted to clear the queue. We have told this to the police but till now no action has been taken,” association president Bhanu Shekhar Prasad Singh said.
Normally, if a truck is caught for overloading, the police refer the driver and the truck to the district transport officer. “One this is done, the transporter is charged at the rate of Re 1 per extra kilogram of goods the truck carries beyond its permissible limit. Those who do not indulge in overloading, weigh their vehicles at the weighbridge,” he said.
As per the rules, a 10-wheel trailer can carry 25 tonnes of goods while a 12-wheeler can carry up to 31 tonnes. When it comes to six-wheelers, they can carry up to 16 tonnes and the four-wheel trucks can carry up to 13 tonnes. Anything above that is overloading,” Singh added.
The police said things were difficult to deal with at present. “It is election time and most of the policemen will go on deputation soon. The police have to just concentrate on jams and ensure that the bridge remains free from any traffic mess as movement along the bridge during the elections will be more than usual,” a police officer said.