Unclaimed and damaged motor vehicles, parked haphazardly on many pavements and by the roadside, obstruct pedestrian movement by taking up space on the already shrunk pavements.

The Bangalore city police have now set May 5 as a deadline for vehicle owners to remove or shift scrap vehicles from pavements and roads. A new direction from the city police states that all unclaimed vehicles will be cleared by police personnel if the respective vehicle owners fail to shift them by next Monday.

Citizens too can do their bit in helping the police do away with these unclaimed vehicles by calling the Police Control Room (101) or Traffic Control Room (103) in case they spot any such vehicles parked on the roads. Ironically, the police, too, are to be blamed given the fact that most of the scrap vehicles lie at the doorstep of police stations.

In a similar move, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), in a public appeal in February 2012, had urged citizens to remove unused vehicles from the footpaths and road sides. The BBMP had threatened to tow the vehicles, if they were not removed within a week’s time. Towards this end, the then Commissioner M.K. Shankarlinge Gowda had written to the police, requesting them to remove vehicles seized by them that were piled on footpaths and road sides . However, with no response from either the public or the police, the BBMP did not pursue the issue.

Kamal Pant, Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) said that though the city police had taken up special drives to clear off these vehicles, it had met with little success. Furthermore, it has become cumbersome for the police to guard these junk vehicles in addition to their regular duties.

To cap police woes, red tape has stymied efforts at smooth disposal of these vehicles.

To dispose off an unclaimed vehicle, the police would have to issue a notification and only after a notice period of six months can the court direct the police to auction the vehicles, if still unclaimed. A senior officer said the Regional Transport Office (RTO) fixes the base price for vehicles. He said that many times, there were no buyers at the price fixed and the police were forced to repeat the process of auctioning several times over.

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