Mumbai: Despite ban, heavy vehicles back to jam city roads
With ban on heavy vehicles seemingly forgotten, commuters say there is no difference between peak hours and non-peak hours
Heavy vehicles, including trucks, lorries, tankers, delivery vans and dumpers, continue to congest roads in Mumbai. Despite being banned from entering the city during the daytime, especially during peak hours, heavy vehicles seem to sneak into the city regularly.
With train travel restricted, people have been forced to take the roads. However, these are choked thanks to heavy vehicles.
In February 2018, the Mumbai traffic police had banned the entry of heavy vehicles during peak hours from 8 am to 11 am and 5 pm to 11 pm. Heavy vehicles — except those related to Metro and Coastal Road project work — entering the city were to be fined Rs 2,000 under Section 115 (Restricting the use of vehicles) of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. In south Mumbai, heavy vehicles are banned from 7 am to midnight and on Eastern Freeway, round the clock. Cops were asked to keep an eye on the toll booths and stop the entry of such vehicles.
However, the ban seems to be forgotten with heavy vehicles seen plying everywhere, clogging the roads and frustrating motorists.
Mandar Nagaonkar, an art director, said, "I have to travel across Mumbai at all times and see heavy vehicles on the road every single time. One, they don't follow lane discipline and two, as they are slow-moving, traffic movement is slowed down. I am surprised to know there is a policy over entry of heavy vehicles, I see them everywhere and at all times within city limits."
Neetu Gupta, a Thane resident, said, "I usually take my two-wheeler to Bhandup, Mulund and Ghatkopar. Not only on the Eastern Express Highway but on the LBS Road too one can find heavy vehicles. We don't find any difference between peak hour or normal hour traffic as because of these vehicles. Roads always seem clogged," she said.
What cops have to say
Inspector Vijay Hatiskar, in-charge of Mankhurd Traffic Division, said, "We are vigilant and keep an eye on vehicles coming from Navi Mumbai. This year, we have registered 22 offences against heavy vehicles for defying the ban. Still some try to sneak in, but we don't spare anybody".
Inspector Narendra Talegaonkar, in-charge of Ghatkopar traffic division, said, "Many heavy vehicles try to ply even during banned time slots. We pick each and every vehicle and penalise them."
Inspector Mahadev Jadhav, in-charge of the Dahisar traffic division, said, "To reduce the menace of heavy vehicles, we keep a dedicated team at toll booths. They intercept such vehicles and restrict their entry. Regular offenders have been booked," he added.
A senior traffic cop said, "The problem is within city limits where 60 to 70 per cent heavy vehicles ply. There are some trucks related to Coastal Road work or Metro line construction, but the movement of dumpers and tempos is also observed in the city. We try to fine each and every vehicle plying during the restricted time, but sometimes, maintaining traffic becomes a priority over taking action against such vehicles," he added.
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