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Traffic cops bask in SMS service success

Have registered 962 cases on the basis of SMS complaints, but cannot trace auto drivers since the offenders' addresses don't match with the ones registered with RTO

While the traffic police are basking in the glory of success of its SMS drive under which 962 cases have been registered against autorickshaw drivers who either fleeced or refused to ferry passengers to their destination in the past five months, they are fighting a losing battle when it comes to bringing the guilty to book.



During the course of investigation, when traffic cops went hunting for the auto drivers they failed to trace the accused to their respective addresses. For, they had produced fake documents while procuring registration certificate from the regional transport office (RTO).

"The SMS service is a part  of our initiative to control the problems faced by citizens. Whenever a complaint is filed, we raise a fine against the autorickshaw drivers based on the registration details available with the regional transport office.
 
But when our officers went to hunt down the accused drivers, they discovered that the addresses provided by them during registration were fake," said M A Saleem, Additional Commmissioner of Police (Traffic).

The traffic police file cases on the basis of complaints through SMS within 48 hours of receiving requests. In all, the traffic police have registered 40,028 cases of overcharging or refusal of service this year so far.

But the cops are facing a herculean task in tracking the offenders as they are hardly found at the addresses provided in the RTO records.

"On an average, we receive 10 to 15 complaints on weekdays, but it goes to over 25 to 30 during weekends. However, what is more challenging is locating these autorickshaw drivers most times they are not found on the address mentioned in RTO records," said Vasant S Bhagwat, Sub Inspector, City Traffic Management Centre.

What's the solution?
The RTO seems to be a helpless spectator. "We issue permits based on the documents furnished by the autorickshaw drivers. We are not the passport agency, so we cannot verify the credential of each document and individual," said Shafi Ahmed, Regional Traffic Officer.

So what is the way out? "If we can bring all the autorickshaws under a centralised agency only then effective implementation of rules can take place. It would be easier to control them," added Ahmed.

At present, the city has 85,000 registered autorickshaws, while the government is in the process of issue registration to another 40,000 three-wheelers.

Fact file

40,028

Total number of cases lodged against auto drivers for fleecing and refusing services to passengers this year so far

962

Number of complaints lodged through SMS since the launch of the service in June

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