Mahesh Bagul was slapped with a fine of Rs 5,200 last week after he was caught driving on the wrong side, among other violations, while heading to his office at the Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park in Hinjewadi. Like Bagul, techies working in Hinjewadi who are found flouting traffic rules repeatedly are now unlikely to be let off for the violations. Besides, the traffic department of Pimpri Chinchwad police plans to press their employers to take action against them.
The crackdown comes close on the heels of the traffic police implementing a one-way rule for vehicles coming from Shivaji Chowk. The one-way rule started last week. As part of the new arrangement, which was being tested since September on a trial basis, the traffic police have closed several gaps between road dividers used by motorists to cut corners.
Barricades have been put up to prevent drivers from going through these gaps along road dividers, forcing motorists, mostly techies, to follow the one-way rule from Shivaji Chowk till Wipro circle and beyond. Vehicles coming from Bhumkar Chowk are no longer permitted to take a right turn at Shivaji Chowk. Restrictions have also been imposed on heavy vehicles entering these roads.
Over three lakh employees work in this IT park and it is estimated that over a lakh vehicles ply on the roads inside the tech park. Private vehicles outnumber public transport services, including PMPML buses, auto-rickshaws and company buses ferrying techies to and from the IT park.
“There are signboards at several locations informing motorists about the one-way traffic rule from Shivaji Chowk. Still, many techies drive on the wrong side. This not only creates confusion about the new traffic arrangement but also brings back snarls,” said a senior traffic police officer.
According to the traffic police, daily there are 10-15 cases of wrong-lane driving in a 3-km stretch. On the department’s plans to intensify the campaign, the officer said, “For the first offence, the offender will be fined and warned. But if the person is caught again flouting traffic rules, we will penalise him or her under IPC Section 279 for rash driving and contact the IT company he or she works for to initiate disciplinary action against the offender.”
Most companies have welcomed the one-way rule as the major reason behind regular traffic jams has been addressed. They had also given their go-ahead to the scheme when it was being tested. Wrong parking is yet another concern for the traffic police.