Haphazard parking a headache this Diwali

Planning to visit Chandni Chowk to buy exquisite jewellery or an ethnic attire for Diwali? Do not be surprised if you see a policeman with a placard warning that your vehicle will be towed away if you stop or park on the roadside.

Delhi traffic police have launched a special drive to reign in the chaos during the festive season caused by the improper parking of vehicles.

The placards have a clear warning in bold red and blue: “NO HALTING, NO PARKING, Tow away zone. Fine Rs 100+500 Towing Charges.”

Traffic police officials have been provided with cameras to take photos of illegally parked cars before towing them in order to deal with smart alecs who may claim harassment and fleecing by police.

The drive, started in four Delhi markets — Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazar in the walled city, Sarojini Nagar and Lajpat Nagar in south Delhi — will take place during peak shopping hours from 10 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm in the evening. Teams consisting of around half a dozen policemen, including senior officials, are deputed in a particular market at a time.

“Our officers are out on the road to regulate smooth movement of traffic,” special commissioner of police (traffic) Sudhir Yadav said.

Police had also roped in the respective market associations and shopkeepers. “We have told shopkeepers to inform the nearest police official if they see anyone indulge in improper parking,” Yadav added.

“People park their vehicles on the roadsides and wherever they can find space blocking half the road. This slows down vehicular movement causing jams and people very easily blame the police. We have limited resources and make the best of them,” said a traffic cop stationed at Lajpat Nagar market.

According to police, if the drive is successful, it will be emulated in several other markets in the Capital during upcoming festivals like New Years’ eve. Delhiites opined that the step was much needed.

“People in this city don’t know how to drive properly, leave alone park their cars. This a step in the right direction but I wish the fine was more steep,” 42-year-old Rakesh Malhotra, a shopkeeper  in Chandni Chowk said.

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