Nagpur: Sitabuldi, a bustling area in Nagpur, has emerged as a hotspot for violations of traffic rules, with auto-rickshaws operating around Variety Square, Rani Jhansi Square, and Munje Chowk taking the lead in flouting regulations.
The Nagpur traffic police recently launched a sudden operation against disorderly auto-rickshaws in commercial zones, resulting in the detention of approximately 220 three-wheelers from across the city for violations of the Motor Vehicles Act. Of these 220 auto-rickshaws, 125 were from Sitabuldi.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Chetna Tidke highlighted the most common infraction as haphazard parking along busy roads, causing disruptions in the flow of traffic.
The Tiger Autorickshaw Association has expressed discontent with the crackdown and is demanding the release of their vehicles without any fines. The impetus for the operation stemmed from Commissioner of Police Amitesh Kumar’s frustration over the chaos created by auto-rickshaws throughout the city.
Assistant Police Inspector Prashant Annachatre spearheaded the operation, targeting auto-rickshaws that were haphazardly parked, hindering smooth vehicular movement, exceeding seating capacity, lacking proper badges and uniforms, among other offenses.
Local media has consistently reported on the violation of traffic rules by unruly auto-rickshaws, which often refuse to use meters. Drivers operating three-wheelers across Nagpur seem to disregard regulations due to perceived inaction from the police, according to motorists. Shared auto-rickshaw drivers frequently park their vehicles indiscriminately, contributing to road encroachments and traffic congestion. The entrance of Mor Bhavan serves as a notable example of this issue.
Motorists have pointed out the brazen nature of the violations, with auto-rickshaws being parked right in the middle of intersections, even in the presence of traffic police. Commuters have criticized the Regional Transport Office (RTO) for failing to take action against autos operating without meters and for not curbing excessive fare charges.
A similar campaign against disorderly auto-rickshaws was conducted by traffic police in March, but due to the lack of sustained action, the situation reverted to its previous state. The Assistant Police Inspector mentioned that many of the violators are repeat offenders and that the detained auto-rickshaws would not be released easily, indicating a zero-tolerance stance by the traffic police.
Vilas Bhalekar, a founder-member of the Tiger Autorickshaw Association, highlighted their demands for parking regulations, action against over-seating in auto-rickshaws, and mandatory use of meters. Bhalekar raised concerns about e-rickshaws as well, noting that they should also adhere to passenger capacity rules and avoid crowded or main roads. He pointed out the disparity in enforcement actions, as e-rickshaws seem to be spared while auto-rickshaws are targeted.