Traffic department restricts movement of heavy vehicles in South Mumbai

Sep 14, 2017, 07:48 IST | A Correspondent

In 'experimental drive', traffic police impose blanket ban on parking, restricts entry of heavy vehicles in South Mumbai

Private buses parked illegally on the Western Urban Road. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Private buses parked illegally on the Western Urban Road. Pic/Nimesh Dave

In an attempt to decongest city roads, the Mumbai traffic police department, starting today, has banned heavy vehicles, and both private and school buses, from parking on the roadside.

The department has also restricted the movement of these vehicles in South Mumbai, fixing time limits on them. A circular issued yesterday, states that the order will have to be followed for the next 60 days. Based on the success of the initiative, the traffic police will decide whether to take the plan forward.

The order has, however, met with stiff opposition from truck and school bus associations, who've described the new ruling as arbitrary. They've have threatened to go to court, if a logical resolution is not found.

Amitesh Kumar, Joint Commissioner (traffic)
Amitesh Kumar, Joint Commissioner (traffic)

Tough call
Starting today morning, the traffic department has started issuing challans to private and school buses, and heavy vehicles parked on the streets. Vehicles found parking illegally will be fined R200. Further, all heavy vehicles and private buses carrying passengers in city are restricted to enter and ply on the roads of South Mumbai from 7 am to midnight. These vehicles will only be allowed to ply from midnight to 6.59 am, the circular states. State transport, BEST, school buses and buses carrying staff private companies have been exempted from these restrictions. Heavy vehicles carrying essential goods and petro products, and water tankers have also been allowed during this time period.

"We were forced to take some tough decisions as the situation of roads during peak hours is only getting worse by the day," said a senior traffic official, on condition of anonymity. "All these vehicles owners use valuable space of the city roads, which ultimately adds to the traffic woes. Due to no regulations, all owners assume that city roads are free for parking. This drive is the need of the hour," said the officer.

'Circular is insane'
Meanwhile, bus and heavy vehicles associations are fuming with the new regulations. "This circular is insane. We expected the traffic department to at least have a word with us before putting any such restrictions," said Anil Garg, president of the School Bus Owners Association. Garg said that the association was consulting with lawyers regarding the prohibition. Manisha K, manager of private bus operator Paulo Travels, said that they wouldn't be affected by the order because they have their own parking space in the city.

"We provide water to many hotels, the railways and construction sites. If we don't get place to park in the city, we will have no option left, but to stop providing water," Sukhbir Singh Bira, president, Mumbai Water Tanker Association.

The All India Motor Truck Congress has also slammed the traffic department's move. "We will be having a meeting to decide on the future course of action," said Bal Malkit Singh, chairperson of the association.

The traffic police department, however, said that suggestions of all associations were taken before the order. "We had a meeting with all the stakeholders," said Joint Commissioner (Traffic) Amitesh Kumar. "BEST bus depots and terminals are available to heavy vehicles for parking. If we really want our city to be free from traffic, we have to embrace some restrictions," he added.

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