Auto drivers resent harassment by police on Traffic Duty
DIMAPUR, JULY 10 (MExN): Autorickshaws plying between Thahekhu village and New Market junction (GS Road side) were on protest mode Tuesday, July 10. The show of resentment was over harassment (read monetary fines) by Home Guards attached with the City Traffic Control for streamlining vehicular movement.
The drivers plying the route stopped their vehicles on the side of the road while also preventing other autorickshaws from plying. The hullabaloo lasted for about an hour and the protesting drivers finally disbanded following the intervention of the traffic police and Sub-Urban police personnel led by the OC.
According to the allegations of the drivers, they are regularly stopped and imposed with monetary fines even on flimsy grounds. The traffic police and the Home Guards seldom issue the customary government challan (receipt) for penalty imposed. “They issue self-made blank challan… and we’re charged Rs. 100”. If it’s the regular government receipt, it is Rs. 200, the drivers said.
“They even impose fines even for not wearing shoes,” the drivers further alleged. On the other hand, it was learned that traffic constables and the Home Guards are not authorized to do so. The stipulated penalty for violating MVA rules is around Rs. 200-250 for a first offence, it was learned. Traffic cops, who wished to remain anonymous citing a total ban on interaction with the media except the district police PRO, said that the allegations are not wholly true, while conceding that the chances of some few wayward personnel indulging in the alleged misconduct cannot be ruled out.
The drivers are also to be blamed. “If they comply with the rules, they won’t face the so called harassments,” the cops lashed back. A sizeable number of passenger three-wheelers plying the roads of Dimapur are said to be defaulting on the guidelines laid down under the Motor Vehicle Rules. It ranges from vehicle documents and drivers’ licenses way past the stipulated period of legality, no insurance papers and a serious matter taken lightly here in Nagaland – pollution control norms. Some three-wheelers are so old that they are denied permit to ply but the drivers still ply the vehicles. “Who can prevent a human-being from earning a living through honest means, after all?”
Nevertheless police personnel, who were on spot, assured the protesting drivers of punitive action on uniformed personnel found erring on the alleged misconduct. The drivers were also appealed to bring to the immediate attention of the police higher-ups, if any personnel are found to be indulging in voluntary imposition of penalty for personal gain.
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