Campaign against wrong-side riders goes to Navi Mumbai
Even as Orlem residents' campaign spreads across western suburbs, neighbouring city's cops have started registering FIRs against offenders as part of their crackdown
The Navi Mumbai traffic police, who had been penalising drivers in order to steer them to the right side of the road to little success, have now started filing FIRs instead. The cops began the drive five days before Diwali and have already booked 530 under Section 279 (rash driving) of the Indian
Speaking about what kind of motorists inspired this strict action, Koparkhairane traffic API Sachin Khondre said, "Three to four months ago, a man was riding his bike on the wrong side with his pregnant wife and their young daughter, when an out of control dumper coming from the right side of the road collided with them. This is just one example of the kind of issues we face every day with people who flout traffic rules."
Those driving in the opposite lane can not only cause massive traffic congestion, but at times can also lead to accidents. Representational Image
Reducing law breakers
"Half of the time is wasted in fighting with them. This time around, the traffic DCP ordered us to show no mercy towards these violators and directly register a police complaint against them instead of collecting their licence or a fine. This strict initiative has been started so that accidents can be avoided," he said.
Navi Mumbai traffic DCP Sunil Lokhande concurred, "We're taking stringent action by registering a FIR against those driving in the opposite lane as such riding not only causes massive traffic congestion, but at times can also lead to accidents.
"We started this before Diwali because it will help keep everyone safe, at least in the festive season. We've tried so many awareness campaigns, but people did not listen. This strict action [filing FIRs] has actually reduced the number of people who flout rules." How do they catch hold of the culprits? Vashi traffic senior PI Satish Gaikwad said, "We all know the area where these drivers take the wrong side, and apart from medical emergency, all the other reasons they give are fake.
Under bridges and bushes
"To catch such drivers, we sit with the team of a particular police station under a bridge or hide in the bushes, and once we see them coming from the wrong side, we stop them before they try to flee.
"We ask for their licence details and file the FIR on the spot, and also provide them with a copy. We spare only those in the middle of a medical emergency." Traffic officials are hoping to come across fewer violators after this drive as people would now be more scared to break the law.
Hundreds brought to book
Their efforts have been instrumental in bringing 530 such cases to book so far. Gaikwad, who has been registering most of the cases said, "They can get bail by producing a witness or paying Rs 5,000 in cash. Following that, till the time the chargesheet is filed, they have to keep visiting the court."
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