Mumbai: The city reported traffic snarls at various busy intersections on Monday morning and afternoon, despite the impounding of around 7,000 vehicles a day before because of the violations of the restrictions for lockdown 5:0, which ends on Tuesday, and has been extended till July 31 in a bid to contain the spread of the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
Western and Eastern Express highways, arterial roads leading to the city from Vashi, Navi Mumbai; central and south Mumbai, and other main roads in western and eastern suburbs reported traffic snarls.
Motorists and the police attributed the traffic jams to nakabandis put up on main roads in a bid to prevent the violation of lockdown restrictions by the public.
“We are checking vehicles across the city and impounding those that are out on the roads without any valid reason or documents,” said Madhukar Pandey, joint commissioner of police, (Traffic), Mumbai Police.
“People are taking advantage of the easing of lockdown restrictions and there could be a surge in Covid-19 positive cases in the city. Our drive has been intensified and stricter restrictions on movements have been enforced across Mumbai,” said a senior police officer.
Mumbai Traffic police authorities have put up nakabandis at over 180 places in the city in a bid to keep a strict vigil on motorists, who are roaming the streets without any valid reason.
Nakabandis were carried out at Kandivali SV road, Dahisar toll naka, Samta Nagar, Kora Kendra bridge, Malad Marve Road, and Magathane, which led to traffic snarls in western and northern suburbs.
All 94 police stations under the jurisdictions of Mumbai Police have been asked to carry out nakabandis at two major junctions in their respective areas.
Mahendra Nerlekar, a senior inspector from Jogeshwari police station, said, “At least 50 cars and 150 two-wheelers have been impounded over the past two years, as the motorists were found to be wandering aimlessly. Some claimed that they hit the streets because they thought the lockdown restrictions were over. People are riding pillion on a two-wheeler even though it is banned.”
The violators are giving bogus reasons to evade police action.
“They have been coming up with all kinds of excuses such as going to work, delivering food to a relative admitted at a hospital, attending a court hearing, etc. However, almost all of them have failed to show valid documents to substantiate their claims,” Nerlekar added.
Many motorists complained that they were harrassed by the police personnel for alleged violation of lockdown restrictions.
Many videos of Monday’s traffic snarls went viral on social media. While #MumbaiTraffic also trended on Twitter.
On Sunday, the Mumbai Police had appealed to all Mumbaikars to comply with lockdown restrictions and urged them not to move beyond a two-kilometre (km) radius of their homes for any work. They have also been instructed to restrict their outdoor movements only for essential activities. Mumbai Police is likely to deploy additional personnel for stricter implementation of lockdown restrictions and a spike of Covid-19 positive cases in the city.