Police Inspector Jayananda of Mangaluru Traffic West Police station Slaps Rs 1000 Fines on 2-Wheelers Parked Illegally on Footpath near Lady Hill and in front of Saibeen complex in City
Mangaluru: The next time you park your vehicle on the footpath, the Mangaluru Traffic Police will fine you Rs 1000 for encroaching pedestrian territory. This fine applies to the riders of two-wheelers and Rs 2000 for drivers of four-wheelers. Gone are the days when the illegal parking fine was just Rs 100, and offenders did not mind paying that amount. Before 2019, the fee stood at Rs 100, but it has been increased to deter frequent offenders after a proposal was made two years ago.
As per the traffic police, the number of people being booked for footpath parking has gone up marginally in the last three years, indicating that the cops are lax in implementing this rule so far. Footpath encroachment is an issue that has become a persistent headache for every Mangalorean. Although the fine of Rs 1000 was fixed in September 2019, the implementation of the rule has been lax by the traffic department. Previously, people took to their social media to share their opinions and drew attention to the problem. As many netizens have pointed out, parking on footpaths makes it difficult for pedestrians to walk, leading to many accidents.
Some people are wondering if there are exceptions for customers and employees parking in front of business establishments, such as pubs, offices, and showrooms. But the fact remains that footpaths are not meant for parking. The pavements are meant for the sole use of pedestrians. So if the residents complain, the cops are supposed to take action and fine the offenders.
Ramesh had parked his motorbike and gone inside Saibeen Complex to recharge Rs 200 on his mobile, but when he came back he was surprised that he had to pay Rs 1000 for parking his bike on the footpath-even after much convincing and giving reasons, he ended up paying the fine. Similar was the case with Ms Shilpa, who had gone into the complex to purchase a cover for her mobile phone costing Rs 300 but ended up paying Rs 1000 as a fine since she too had parked her scooter on the footpath.
Even with stiff fines, vehicle users insist on robbing pedestrians of their right of way by parking on pavements across the city. “Footpaths should be pleasantly walkable. Unfortunately, that is not the ground reality. There are several hurdles from feeder pillars to vehicle parking. Strict action must be taken against those who don’t follow the rules,” said a senior citizen who was passing by. Walkers agree that more vigilant policemen, the civic body, NGOs and citizens themselves can look at ways to protect pedestrians’ right of way.
With vehicles parked on footpaths, pedestrians are forced to walk on the road. It is a danger at all times as the roads are heavily traffic-laden. Encroachment of footpaths is rampant everywhere, but blatant in the shopping areas. With narrow lanes and heavy traffic, nobody cares about parking rules. Despite vehicles being fined several times by the traffic police, people turn a blind eye to the rules. It is extremely difficult for people, especially senior citizens and kids. Relentless and persistent action from the anti-encroachment squad from the civic body can not only reclaim footpaths but also preserve them for walkers.
It was a good action by PI Jayananda and his colleague in taking action on these two-wheelers parked illegally. Around 20-30 2-wheelers were slapped with fines, which earn a total of Rs 20K-Rs 30K if the offenders bother to pay, to which PI Jayananda said that many are reluctant to pay the fines. Traffic policemen should regularly act against vehicles parked on footpaths as per the civic rules, and not occasionally. Regular crackdown on illegal parking will reduce the number of motorists breaking the rules.
Hope lies in the smart pedestrian street, planned by the civic body under the Smart Cities Mission, which talks about safer infrastructure for pedestrians, cyclists and the differently abled. It proposes smart streets where the safety of non-motorized users is assured. But are they strictly following what they have planned under Smart City- I guess not!
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