Much to the relief of the residents of Mumbai, they can now verify whether their vehicle has been towed away or has been stolen when they don’t find it at their last parked location by just contacting the traffic police.
Mumbai police’s traffic department, has been, since November 10, digitally recording details of all towed vehicles in the city. Once the vehicle is picked up, the traffic officer concerned uploads the specifics of the car, including the colour, make and number plate with a few pictures. The traffic police’s data reveals that 11,375 vehicles have been towed in the last 22 days of which only 432 have been collected back by the owners till date.
A senior traffic officer said, “We have made all traffic officers deputed to tow cars download an application on their smartphones. Once they pick up a vehicle for unauthorised parking, they immediately send across the details of the vehicle to the traffic headquarters in Worli, and the data gets synced with the main database.”
Traffic officials also maintained that they will now stop using chalk to mark the spot from where a vehicle is towed and taken to the nearest traffic chowkie, as is the general practice.A senior police officer said that earlier there was no “systematic record” to know how many vehicles have been towed but by digitising the towing data, the workload of traffic officials have been reduced. In a bid to increase accountability, last month, the Mumbai Traffic Police has started a new 24/7 helpline number — 8454999999 — for residents to obtain information or lodge complaints via a voice call, WhatsApp, an email and an SMS. Officers answering calls in the new traffic control room in Worli said that about 40 calls come each day.
“There are people who have called inquiring about their vehicles and we ask them for the number plate through which we track the vehicle,” said a police officer.