Soaring vehicle population renders regulatory measures ineffective

Believe it or not! As many as 2,35,646 vehicles had been registered in the Erode city limits as on August 1, 2013, since the inception of the office of Regional Transport Officer five decades back.

For a city with a population around five lakh, there has hardly been any visible improvement in the road infrastructure over the years.

This explains why the chaotic traffic conditions have rendered any intelligent intervention by traffic police ineffective.

As is only to be expected, the number of two-wheelers far exceeds other kinds of vehicles. There are 2.01 lakh two-wheelers, and nearly 34,000 four-wheelers plying on the city roads. “It is not unusual for affluent families to own additional two-wheelers and cars,” says the RTO S. Lakshmanaswamy.

In the last two years alone, close to 40,000 two-wheelers and over 4,500 four-wheelers have been registered in the office or Erode RTO. If not for the drought conditions in rural parts and the setback suffered by the industry sector, the number of registrations would have been much more, according to another senior official.

One of the main reasons for the high number of registrations is the ease with which the vehicle owners in India are able to secure the driving licence, the officials said. In many other countries, the driving licence, they said, was given only after a rigorous process that includes a written test.

It is not that the police department is not doing its part. According to the traffic police sources, the road rules are being enforced in right earnest. Since the start of the calendar year, the traffic police in the city have imposed spot fines on erring drivers to the extent of Rs. 49 lakh. During July alone, the fine amount nearly touched Rs. 8 lakh mark. There is little that the traffic police could do in the absence of improvements in road infrastructure, says P. Raj, who served as the Traffic wing DSP in the last few years until his recent transfer to Ariyalur district.

The police department’s suggestions for construction of overbridges, and road underpasses at vital spots in the city are yet to find takers at the highest level. The public are the ultimate sufferers whenever proposed projects to scale up road infrastructure or initiatives to evict encroachments get stalled due to interferences by politicians, Mr. Raj said matter of fact.

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