Abandoned vehicles: Cops, RTO ignore HC, Govt directives

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 Dec 2018 09:37:27

  Abandoned vehicles along Central Bazaar Road.  


By Dheeraj Fartode,

Despite orders of Bombay High Court and State Government, City Police and Regional Transport Office (RTO) are dragging their feet on taking action on abandoned vehicles scattered across the city.  State Government had come out with a policy to deal with cases of unused vehicles lying unclaimed on roads, in October first week. The police and Regional Transport Office (RTO) were directed to impound such vehicles that block space and pose hindrance in smooth flow of traffic. However, Senior officers of City Police and RTO are reluctant in pushing forward the policy in the city. Neither a co-ordination meeting was called nor a joint action plan was discussed by the agencies concerned.

It may be noted that unused vehicles continue to be an eyesore for citizens apart from creating problems for road users. When contacted, Commissioner of Police Dr B K Upadhyay informed ‘The Hitavada’ that the circular was discussed in a meeting.  Action would be taken soon as the cops were busy in bandobast duties, he assured. RTO Shripad Wadekar claimed that he was unaware of any such
action mandated to his department, ducking under the grab that he had taken the new charge and needs time to go through directions from State if any in this regard. Ashok Patil, Chief of Enforcement Department of NMC, said that no such circular or orders were received at his office so far.

Patil is aware of hazard posed by the abandoned vehicles in the city. He informed ‘The Hitavada’ that Enforcement Department has written letters to Traffic Police and RTO to act against unclaimed vehicles lying by roadside or on roads. “Large number of abandoned vehicles can be found in the city and some of them are used for anti-social activities,” Patil claimed.

It may be mentioned that State Home Department had laid down a 14-point standard operating procedure (SoP) for State Police and RTO after observing increasing number of abandoned vehicles in urban centres, especially big cities. The SoP came after Bombay High Court rapped State Government for not laying down any guidelines to law enforcement agencies for removal of discarded vehicles lying in public places. Following this, a notification was issued and communicated to Director General of Police (DGP), State Transport Commissioner, all Police Commissioners, Superintendent of Police (SPs) and RTOs in October.

State Government policy
Police and RTO to register every complaint about abandoned vehicles in a separate book n An officer of minimum Assistant Police Inspector (API) rank should visit the spot with necessary equipment, including public address system and a towing vehicle for taking prompt action n The vehicle should be immediatelyremoved if it poses immediate danger to traffic or citizens n The officer should locate the owner of such vehicles and if not located then the officer should paste a notice on the vehicle and if that too fails to work then police should impound the vehicle under Section 82 of the Maharashtra Police Act 1959 n Municipal corporations to provide land for keeping such vehicles. The expenditure of transportation of the vehicles and maintenance was directed to be recovered from the owners of abandoned vehicles n Police and RTO to set-up special helpline number for the same and also asked police to act on complaints received on police emergency number 100 n Police were asked to use newly installed CCTV surveillance system to identify abandoned vehicles in the city n Every complainant should be given complaint number and the action taken report should be made available on the website n Police and RTO to appoint Nodal Officer to supervise the SoP and functioning of the system