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Heat on parking rogues, illegal shops

Shopkeepers illegally occupying road space and vehicle owners flouting parking rules continue to face the whip of traffic police in the state capital.

Armed with two cranes, the traffic department, which started a crackdown a week ago to ease snarls on busy stretches, towed away 18 vehicles — 12 four-wheelers and six two-wheelers — found wrongly parked and demolished unauthorised extensions of around 15 shops in Ranchi on Friday.

The drive that kicked off around noon from Dangratoli Chowk spread over to Purulia Road and Sarjana Chowk during the day. All vehicles seized were taken to Lalpur and Chutia police stations and released only after the owners cough up fines.

“We hired the two cranes from a private operator, who charges Rs 300 per trip. The car owners were charged Rs 400 each — Rs 300 for the crane and Rs 100 as fine — while two-wheeler riders had to pay Rs 200. Now, if people still don’t improve their civic sense and wrongly park vehicles, we will think of slapping bigger fines,” said Ranchi traffic superintendent of police (SP) Rajeev Ranjan.

Over the past week, the department has seized as many as 40 four-wheelers and around 50 two-wheelers for parking in no-parking zones.

The SP added that they embarked on the drive on the basis of complaints from commuters that shopkeepers were illegally occupying pavements and parked vehicles were eating up road space.

The department formed two teams, each comprising 20 personnel and headed by traffic DSPs Rajendra Choudhary and Ajay Mishra, to launch the crackdown.

“Purulia Road and Sarjana Chowk are the main traffic arteries of the city that need to be de-clogged. The drive will continue in the coming weeks as well,” Ranjan said.

On Thursday, the team got cracking on Ratu Road near the residence of energy minister Rajendra Prasad Singh and several other places like Hariom Tower at Lalpur and Shahid Chowk.

“We are lifting and imposing fines only on those vehicles that are parked on the road. Those parked beyond the white line (the designated parking area) on the road are not touched. A month back, we had declared 50 metres within every signal post no-parking zones. Billboards have been placed everywhere. Vehicles were seized and fines imposed under Section 179 of the Motor Vehicles Act,” said traffic DSP Choudhary.