ON THE WRONG SIDE – On Tilak Road, rule violators get tacit support from cops

Between Hirabaug Chowk and the old office of Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture (MCCIA) on Tilak Road, safety rules are routinely ignored, courtesy traffic jam.

Scores of offenders justify a shortcut to the junction, even if it requires driving on the wrong side of the road, since it’s quicker than halting at three traffic signals on Sarasbaug Road.

The road between Hirabaug Chowk and Swargate is a one-way .However, vehicles are routinely seen travelling in the opposite side. While twowheeler riders make up a chunk of offenders, those driving cars and larger vehicles are also often seen making a dash for it as long as the police don’t interrupt their stride.

Usually , offenders largely stick to the left on most of the road but some drive right through the middle of heavy traffic. A few others even make the traffic come to a standstill as they crossover to the right side of the road.

Locals say offenders are mostly headed towards Hira baug, the petrol pump nearby or to banks located on both si des of the road.

Accidents have become customary in the area, shared Rakesh Patange, a roadside stall owner. “The problem is that the motorist on the correct side of the road sometimes cannot see the offender driving wards him on to the wrong side. Some even spe ed just to avoid running into other vehicles but end up do ing exactly that. I have seen a lot of accidents take place he re,“ he said. Autorickshaw driver Shiva Birajdar added, “Most offenders try to get into one of the bylanes. The legal route to access these bylanes is very long and wastes a lot of time.“

Police officials are rarely present at the spot to keep a check on violators, pointed out Sitaram Chouhan, who owns a shop on the stretch. “Traffic jams occur routinely because of the mess created by motorists driving down the wrong side of the road. I have hardly ever seen police officials manage traffic on this road, which only encourages those flouting the rules,“ he said.

Admitting knowledge of the problem, Khadak police division sub-inspector AB Jagtap stated, “Yes, we are aware that vehicles drive down the wrong side of the road. We have granted two-wheeler riders permission to do so but not cars. This area has a lot of residential pockets and residents say it is very inconvenient for them to take such a long route.Now that you have pointed it out, I will surely take action against four-wheeler drivers.“

The officer further said that if the police starts penalising two-wheeler riders, they approach senior officers, who allow them to travel on the wrong side of the road.

Source : TOI