Hyderabad traffic cops to crack whip on auto drivers, shop owners

Heavy fines for causing traffic congestion

Hyderabad: City traffic cops are set to levy large penalties on shopowners and autorickshaw drivers who cause traffic congestion in gridlocked and overcrowded markets.

After an eight-month survey on traffic congestion, city police said they had identified the factors causing traffic problems. Sources said the drivers had created unofficial parking lots in several locations that were adding to the traffic congestion.

The police said they would penalise autorickshaw drivers who encroach on the roads or illegally or haphazardly park three-wheelers on congested roads between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000 each, seize their vehicles and hand them over the Road Transport Authority (RTA).

Further, autorickshaws would not be permitted to intercept buses or block traffic to pick up passengers at intersections. The traffic police will take videos of rule breakers and produce them before court.

Traffic police said they had identified 50-year-old bus stops near junctions that were causing traffic jams. The police will relocate these to more appropriate spaces further up or down the road.

The survey found that shopowners encroach most of the pavements and roads. Police have decided to seize their material and prosecute the shopowners found encroaching on footpaths and levy hefty penalties on them. Police said they would will file criminal trespass charges on shopowners who dump their goods on footpaths or public passages.

Hawkers who repeatedly obstruct traffic will face criminal charges, police said. "We will seize the property of shopowners and hawkers on the sidewalks and prosecute them under the IPC, as well as produce the seized material before the court. No one will be spared," said A.V. Ranganath, joint commissioner of police (traffic).

The Hyderabad traffic police had recently met with representatives of autorickshaw unions, hawkers’ associations, TSRTC, and GHMC officials to discuss solutions to traffic congestion on city roads.

Ranganathan said traffic congestion was also due to the increasing number of vehicles. "Every year, the number of new vehicles increases by over 7 lakh. At the time of Telangana's formation, there were over 42 lakh vehicles on the roads, but now there are more than 79 lakh vehicles on the same roads, and the count is expected to double in the next six years," informed Ranganath.

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