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Fine for parking folly

The Ranchi traffic police initiative to discipline parking rogues, who misuse road space and cause inconvenience to others, has delivered encouraging results. It is not just filling coffers of the department, but has arguably reined in violations.

A month ago, the traffic police issued an order declaring a 50-metre radius of every signal post as no parking zone. The capital city has 22 intersections and parking monitors have so far collected Rs 1.50 lakh as fine, making the random checks a deterrent for others.

“Our objective is to instil road sense among citizens. A vehicle parked in an unauthorised area is liable to a penalty of Rs 450 under Section 179 of the Motor Vehicles Act. We have even fined city buses and collected around Rs 15,000,” said SP (traffic) Rajiv Ranjan.

Controlling vehicular flow in Ranchi is one of the most challenging jobs owing to the city’s narrow roads and increasing volume of traffic; not to forget encroachments by vendors and commuters paying scant regard to road rules.

A rough self-assessment by the department has pegged the chaotic Kantatoli Chowk as penalty nucleus. The Ratu Road signal has ranked second in revenue generation in terms of fine.

Topping the rogues’ list are auto-rickshaws, which halt near signals to pick up passengers. There are around 9,000 of these tiny tin monsters on the prowl in Ranchi on any given day. Many of them ply without permit and yet have problems if rules are imposed.

“We want traffic condition in the city to improve. But, this new rule without allotting us proper parking points is not fair. In fact, we are fined even if we halt at a great distance from a signal,” claimed Shamim Akhtar of Chotanagpur Taxi Evam Tempo Chalak Sangh.

The initiative has evoked mixed response from the common commuter. While on the one hand, they have appreciated the traffic department’s new rule to ease congestion, on the other hand, the gripe in vogue is that the fiat has not been circulated through notices.

Admitting this minor lapse, the traffic SP said: “It is true that sometimes people, who are unaware of the order, is fined. They argue with traffic police because there is no notice board. We have requested the road construction department to do the needful.”

At a time when the government has not taken any serious initiative to construct flyovers in Ranchi and ease traffic burden, one lone department is taking baby steps to better the situation. The traffic brass has sent a fresh proposal to their road construction counterparts for widening of important squares including Kantatoli Chowk, Ratu Road and Radium Road. A few months ago, stretches near Sahajanand Chowk in Harmu were following a similar push.