Hyderabad: Gone are the days when people would get away with mere challans and petty cases for misbehaving or not carrying necessary documents with them. Due to a strict crackdown by law enforcement authorities, public servants, commuters and even parents are being awarded jail terms for these violations.
An autorickshaw driver served eight days in jail after a brawl with a female passenger, an incident touted as a first by road safety experts. There was a time when, if one paid a challan for not carrying documents, he could just show that slip and carry on if stopped elsewhere. Times have changed and immediate, stringent action is taken and one can even expect jail time, said a senior official from Hyderabad police.
“The response from the commuters after the strict implementation of rules is encouraging”, said the Hyderabad police commissioner Anjani Kumar.
“The purpose of our exercise is to bring a new and improved road culture in the city. We are one of the most vibrant and modern cities where, on the one side, we have the historic Charminar and, on the other, the iconic modern IT tech field, a diversity which does not exist in any other big city in India. Our endeavour is to make it a truly international mega city and therefore, the standard of road culture, safety and quality of life has to match the best in the world.” Mr Kumar told this newspaper.
On April 1, a 32-year-old woman boarded an autorickshaw at Nampally to go home. On the way, she asked river J. Amar Singh to take a different route and he started abusing her.
Afzalgunj inspector P. Gnanendar Reddy said that when she questioned his tone, he misbehaved with her. She lodged a complaint with the police. When he appeared in the Third Special Metropolitan Magistrate Court to pay the fine, the court announced eight-day imprisonment for his bad behaviour towards the woman passenger as he was a public servant.
“There has been an improvement because of the awareness created and action taken by the officials. Many commuters now wear a helmet and follow rules,” Mr Kumar said.
“A penalty of Rs 500 was slapped on the parents under Section 180 of the Motor Vehicle Act. In February itself, 45 parents were jailed and 1,079 cases were registered as part of the traffic police’s campaign to curb driving by minors,” said a senior official of the Hyderabad traffic police. Following this, 191 cases were booked against minors on a single day, while four parents were sentenced to prison at the time. The drives were being conducted in Hyderabad’s old city area, especially near colleges.
In March, a magistrate court sent 10 parents to prison for a day for letting their minor children drive. In what was reported to be a first, a 14-year-old was also sentenced to remand for one day in a juvenile home. In yet another incident on April 7, six riders were sentenced to four days for taking the wrong route in Bachupally. “People convicted for drunk driving will face difficulties while applying for government jobs, passport and visa clearance.” said DCP, Traffic Hyderabad, L.S. Chauhan.