A rickshaw plies at Albert Ekka Chowk in Ranchi on Wednesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Traffic police proposals do not interest the capital’s civic guardian Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC), if Mission Rickshaw is any indication.
The traffic department wanted to downsize the rickshaw population on Main Road, the city’s crucial road link, limiting them to 100 to reduce snarls on the 3km stretch.
Earlier this month, traffic police announced phasing out permit-less rickshaws, starting from Main Road in the first phase, traffic SP Rajiv Ranjan spearheading the drive.
He said he had sent a proposal to RMC after talking with its chief executive officer Manoj Kumar.
RMC’s role was to issue tokens to rickshaws as permits to ply and traffic department’s job to ensure they were being checked regularly.
Weeks down the line, the RMC remains unresponsive and the traffic SP “stranded”.
“Karna to main bahut kuch chahta hoon but koi sahiyog kare tab na (I want to do many things but only if people cooperate). If everyone does his work judiciously, half the city’s problems will be solved. It is almost a week and RMC can’t even come up with simple advertisements inviting rickshaw pullers to apply for permits,” Ranjan told The Telegraph.
RMC doesn’t even have any data on the number of rickshaws functioning in and around the city as the municipal body in the past 14 years did not care to keep track.
Mushrooming rickshaws and their uncontrolled movements apart, traffic SP maintained that RMC’s casual approach also poses a security threat.
“In every city, the administration or civic body maintains a track of vehicles in their area. But in Ranchi, neither the RMC nor anyone has data on how many rickshaws are plying. What if a dreaded criminal buys a rickshaw as a subterfuge? For the police, it will be difficult to track down the culprit if he commits a crime in the guise of a rickshaw puller,” Ranjan, a senior IPS, said.
He added his plan to allow only rickshaws with permits on road served a dual purpose.
“First, we would have proper data on who is plying on which route. Secondly, permit-only rickshaws will ease traffic. For example, on Main Road, we don’t need more than 100 rickshaws, but have over 200, which is one of the major reasons for traffic jams,” he said, adding Ranchi traffic police also conducted a survey with public works department (road) officials to demarcate separate lanes for rickshaws.
RMC CEO Manoj Kumar, when contacted, claimed he wasn’t aware of any formal proposal but conceded having talks with traffic SP in this regard. “If rickshaw pullers come to us we will start giving permits,” he said, without taking any more questions.
But, Mr CEO, why would rickshaw pullers go to you without knowing you will give permits?