Members of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have put up hoardings along the Western Express Highway (WEH) warning taxi drivers that they would have MNS to deal with if they do not behave themselves.
MNS workers said that nearly 40 hoardings were put up along the Ali Yavar Jung Marg on the Western Express Highway in Bandra (East) as a warning to taxi drivers, who have allegedly been creating traffic problems at the Kherwadi junction by parking their taxis on the highway.
The hoardings, which have photographs of MNS chief Raj Thackeray, bear the warning in Marathi, which says, “Taxi chalakanno yaad raakha!. Mujori karaal tar gaath aamchyashi aahe (taxi drivers, remember. If you do not behave, you will have to deal with us)”.
“One of the three lanes of the Kherwadi junction is already occupied due to construction of the flyover, and one more is taken up by taxis that are parked on the highway, leading to daily traffic problems. Nearly 50 taxis are parked on the highway every day. On Friday last week, we met the traffic police and told them if they did not take action against them, we would deal with them in our own way. We also submitted a letter to them regarding this on Saturday, and then put up the hoardings on Tuesday morning,” said Akhil Chitre, secretary of the MNS’s student wing, the Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena (MNVS).
Chitre added that since Tuesday, MNS activists have started patrolling the stretch, keeping an eye out for errant taxi drivers and to offer assistance to the traffic police.
The police, meanwhile, have been penalising the taxi drivers for parking on the highway, imposing a fine of Rs 100 under provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.
Senior Police Inspector S D Hanchate of Vakola traffic division, under whose jurisdiction the stretch falls, however, said they had been taking action against such taxi drivers for several months.
“People travelling by public transport towards south Mumbai come till the Kherwadi junction by auto-rickshaw and then take taxis to go further. For this reason, taxi drivers park their vehicles at the junction, looking for such fares. We have been penalising them whenever we see them parked on the highway, and this action has been going on for a long time. We step it up whenever we see taxis in large numbers. It is not as if we have suddenly woken up to the issue,” Hanchate said.