Towed away without care

Towed away without care

The Bangalore traffic police is in an aggressive mood. It is firm on using both the towing vehicles and wheel clamps to nail errant motorists who park in ‘no parking’ zones and this is evident from the increasing number of cases booked against the offenders.

The Bangalore traffic police owns 37 towing vehicles and 500 clamps. But the senior
officers with the traffic police say that they prefer to invest and use clamps rather than on the towing vehicles, which are a financial burden and require at least one or more traffic personnel to be put on the job. Besides, charges of corruption against those who man these towing vehicles have forced the traffic police to avoid using the existing towing vehicles.

Additional commissioner of police (traffic) B Dayananda says that even the new towing vehicles will be used only if they are absolutely necessary. He reasons that it is far
more profitable to ‘hire purchase’ these towing vehicles rather than own them.

“Maintenance of the vehicles and keeping an eye on the staff manning these
vehicles are our biggest concern. We have to depute an inspector for each of the
vehicles. We are short-staffed and unable to spare the people we have at the moment,” explains Dayananda.

According to statistics with the traffic police, the number of towing cases booked in 2012 were 65894 and the fine amount collected was Rs 13, 369800. This year, till November 30, the cases registered are 63,755 and fine amount collected is Rs 12, 611250.

Dayananda further states that among those who are caught, two-wheeler riders have to pay a fine of Rs 300 of which Rs 100 is the parking fine and Rs 200 goes towards the towing charges. The four-wheeler drivers have to pay Rs 100 towards parking fine and Rs 300 towards towing charges. “In towing charges, the money is equally divided between the government and the contractors. People may write to the traffic authorities in case of any damage to vehicle or corruption. We will initiate immediate action,” assures Dayananda.   

But people have mixed reactions to the issue of towing of vehicles. They feel that the traffic police must not only clamp down on those who have illegally parked but
ensure that the system is free of corruption and that vehicles are seized without any damage. Raj, a DJ, confesses that he once parked his bike near the ATM and when he
returned in less than five minutes, his bike was towed away. “I had to go to police station and pay Rs 300 as bribe to get my bike released. I have seen the traffic police and men in the tow vehicles lifting the bikes without any care.”

Shafeeq, a medical transcriptionist, states, “ I agree that I had parked in a wrong spot but I was willing to pay a fine just to make sure that my bike was not towed away. But the cops wouldn’t agree. Finally, I paid Rs 200, which I understand will be split between the guys who towed the vehicle and the cops,” reasons Shafeeq. Gibin Jose, a product lead, says that cops who sit inside these towing vehicles don’t even bother to check about the damage to the two-wheelers or four-wheelers when they are being lifted. “The way the vehicles are lifted is pathetic. These vehicles are dragged and invariably, the sides of the bike rub against the vans and this leaves a lot of scratches. I think the traffic police must find a better way of clamping down on those parking in ‘no parking’ areas,” he sums up.

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