Flooded by complaints of road space being blocked by vehicles during peak morning hours, Kolkata traffic police on Friday launched a ‘zero-tolerance drive’ to try and ‘discipline’ errant drivers. The drive was targeted at curbing illegal parking, discouraging buses from picking up passengers from non-designated stops and wilful blocking of lanes. At Esplanade, the cops also took to task cabbies and auto drivers for refusing passengers. In two hours — between 9am and 11am — on Friday, 311 drivers were booked across 25 traffic guards in the city.
The cops imposed spot fines, and on certain occasions even towed away offending vehicles. “We do keep conducting special drives. While the attention was on bikers of late, we felt that a few motorists and commercial vehicle drivers were disregarding basic parking norms. Friday’s drive was aimed at sending a strong message,” said DC (traffic) Santosh Pandey.
At Shyambazar five-point crossing and Jatindra Mohan Avenue, sergeants drove away mini-buses that kept moving at snail’s pace or parked their vehicles in the middle of the road even as the conductors kept looking for passengers. On Rashbehari Bypass connector, the cops took action against autorickshaws that kept waiting in front of Acropolis Mall, which many now call the “unofficial” auto stand for Gariahat-bound autos.
At Esplanade, the cops challaned anyone who blocked the road — taxis looking for passengers near New Market, buses and mini buses not stopping at the designated bus stop at Dorina Crossing and taxis refusing passengers. On Chittaranjan Avenue, even private car drivers who parked their cars illegally were fined.
The first phase of the drive concentrated on important roads in south and north Kolkata — Shyambazar crossing, Bhupen Bose Avenue, CR Avenue, JL Nehru Road, ATM Road, SP Mukherjee Road and Deshapran Sashmal Road. The second phase covered Sarat Bose Road— a thoroughfare from where maximum complaints pour in, especially school-bound students. The final phase covered Rashbehari connector between Bijon Setu and Ruby crossing.
Daily commuters said that such drives must be conducted frequently to keep roads free from encroachment. “This sudden drive took everyone by surprise. But just like the crackdown on rogue bikers at night, it is important to sustain the pressure on erring drivers. Hopefully, Kolkata Municipal Corporation, too, will be an integral part of this drive,” said Somlata Majumdar, a school teacher from Behala who travels to Minto Park everyday.
Source: Times of India