Cops, traffic police resort to blame game for lack of action
A day after MiD DAY reported about how illegal taxi owners and agents were operating from near station area and were allegedly paying police officials Rs 3 lakh a month to run the business smoothly ('Cops take Rs 3 lakh to look the other way", December 5), the police and traffic police officials seem to be passing the buck onto each other for lack of action against those operating the illegal taxi business.
Commenting on the issue, DCP (Zone II) Ramnath Pokale said, “The local police is not responsible for taking action in matters pertaining to traffic or transport. We are not denying the fact that number of taxis near station area has increased, but officials from the Bund Garden police station are not responsible for it.
Officials from the Traffic
police department and the Regional Transportation Office (RTO) should look into the issue. We are ready for all possible assistance from our side to reduce chaos at station area.”
Explaining their side of the story, Police Inspector Mahadev Gawade of the Traffic Planning department said the department is taking necessary action against illegal cabs.
“Our policemen cannot stand there 24 hours a day. Most of our manpower has been deployed at various locations in the area to control traffic. We agree that it is a traffic-related issue, but as per the Motor Vehicles Act even the local police officials can take action against such activates,” Gawade said.
Drivers of the Pune-Mumbai-Pune Taxi Association and the Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai Taxi Association said every time the issue is reported by the media, police takes action and the agents and the cab owners take a break for a day or two
before resuming the illegal business. They also said mostof the agents were from the nearby slum areas.
“The police takes these operators in custody for a few whenever we report about their hooliganism. But the next day they are back in business. A permanent solution for this problem is a must,” a driver said.
Prakash Joshi, one of the drivers, said, “We are appealing commuters not to travel by these illegal cabs. In case of an accident, commuters cannot claim insurance as theses vehicles are being without permits. They don’t even have fitness certificate or yearly passing,
so the vehicle may not be safe. While taking a trip in an official Pune-Mumbai taxis, every passenger insured up to Rs 3 lakh. If people stop to travelling by these illegal cabs, soon
the operators will run out of business.”