Mumbai: Traffic cops struggle to get autos to queue up at Kurla terminus
Despite action against 200 violators in two days, rogue auto and taxi drivers still refuse to toe the line; cops continue to pass the buck
Even as the traffic division of the Mumbai police is going all out against errant autorickshaw drivers at Lokamanya Tilak Terminus (LTT), usual teething troubles have threatened to mar its success.
Ever since mid-day launched its campaign to expose how autorickshaw drivers were harassing unsuspecting passengers, the cops have been trying to pull out all stops to get hold of traffic violators. A day after this newspaper reported that it had taken action against 114 drivers on a single day (Friday), the traffic police ensured it kept the momentum going, with 106 violators being fined on Saturday. "We will continue the drive at the LTT premises. We won't spare anyone violating the traffic law," said Balkrishna Mane, senior inspector of the Chembur traffic division.
A map of LTT showing the four lanes for autos and taxis
Despite the threat of the traffic police looming, auto and taxi drivers at LTT seem unperturbed. On Saturday afternoon, mid-day visited the station and found no major changes. The drivers were still approaching passengers and demanding hefty fares. A copy of the plan of LTT station, which is available with mid-day, shows that authorities have made proper arrangements for all auto and taxi drivers. There are four lanes right outside LTT station's main hall - the first lane is for dropping passengers, the second is for prepaid taxis (you have to pay the fare before plying), the third and fourth lanes are for autos and taxis, which are expected to charge by are meter.
But no one is ready to follow the rules, and the Railway Police Force (RPF) and traffic police are busy passing the buck. Sources from the RPF claim that there are multiple entry and exit points in the station, and they don't have enough manpower to keep a tab on all violators. Another source said that the Railway Act, does not give the RPF enough power to take action against errant auto and taxi drivers. In the month of January, the RPF only booked 11 people under 147 Railway Act for unauthorised trespassing and 42 people under 159 Railway Act for unauthorised parking.
The traffic police, on the other hand, said that their jurisdiction is only limited to the area outside the station. "We can only take action at the entry and exit points of the railway premises. If anyone is found violating the rules, we issue an e-challan for that." Dipesh Tank, who initiated the War Against Railway Rowdies campaign, said, "Just a few days ago, I was travelling from LLT to Jalgaon. While waiting at the station, I saw autorickshaw drivers bothering passengers inside the railway premises.
I think the RPF, GRP and traffic police must collectively ensure that these drivers follow the rules." Another passenger, Reuben Ambrose, 21, said, "Issuing e-challans is not enough, the cops should cancel the licence of offenders." Speaking to mid-day, Mane said that the police will make sure that the drivers wait in queue.
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