The special night drives targeting VIP vehicles in the bustling areas of Ludhiana are creating a buzz in the state, with many VIPs and people claiming to be their relatives and friends being issued challans for violating the traffic norms.
Initiated by Deputy Commissioner Rajat Aggarwal and ACP (traffic) Richa Agnihotri, the drives have been successful in booking VIP vehicles for various offences like black films, drunken driving, modified number plates, not possessing documents and using red and blue beacons without authorisation.
The drives are unique as the media and NGOs are allowed to accompany traffic police and district transport officer to avoid political pressure during checking of VIP vehicles.
During fourth such drive on Malhar road in Sarabha Nagar on Thursday late, a judicial magistrate was issued a challan for not having a driving licence. Similarly, a car belonging to a top official of Punjab Agricultural University was stopped for checking; it was sporting a sticker of “CM residence parking”.
The driver said that the car belonged to a PAU official, and the sticker was removed then. Similarly, a ‘relative’ of Ludhiana south MLA Balwinder Singh Bains entered a heated argument with police but ultimately the sticker of the car belonging to the MLA was removed.
Later, Bains himself called up district transport officer Anil Garg. “MLA Bains called to ask why sticker was removed as car belongs to him.
We are enquiring the matter,” the DTO told Newsline.
“More than seven cars had stickers of ‘press’ which were fake. We asked for identity cards of the so-called press reporters but they failed to produce them. Stickers were removed but the problem is we do not have a law under which we can issue challans to people sporting fake press stickers. I have sent suggestions for the draft of Road Safety and Transport Bill to create a section under which challans can be issued to offenders for fake press stickers,” the ACP (traffic) told Newsline.
A car owner was also booked for modified number plate with ‘Anti Corruption Wing’ written on it, said the ACP. “Vehicle of an MC councillor was also stopped for checking and he was booked for black film and modified number plate. Councillor’s sticker was also removed,” said the DTO.
The car of MP Ravneet Bittu with MLA Bharat Bhushan Ashu was also stopped. “MP was wearing the seat belt and did not violate any rule. He appreciated the drive,” said a traffic cop.
Almost 30 challans were issued on Thursday night for offences such as using high laser beam, drunken driving, using cellphone, and black film in addition to 128 challans issued during the last three drives.