With traffic police hit by corona, dummies make road users aware of proposed hike in finesThe Metropolitan Traffic Division Office has already talked to the Department of Transport Management to hike the fines, officials say.
The Metropolitan Traffic Division Office has installed mannequins dressed as traffic police at various locations of the city to make road users aware of proposed hikes in fines after dozens of personnel tested positive for coronavirus.
The placard-holding mannequins are part of the police’s campaign to convey to the public that fines are being hiked, officials said as the number of traffic police personnel to contract the disease in the Valley soared to 133.
“We put up the placards to send a clear message to the people that they will be charged Rs 500 to 10,000 if they violate the traffic rules,'' said Senior Superintendent Bhim Prasad Dhakal, chief at the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, which has put up 22 mannequins in various parts of the city holding placards that read “violating the traffic rules may attract a fine of up to Rs 10,000.”
The division office had last year—during the tenure of chief Basant Pant—announced a hike in traffic violation fines from Rs 500 to up to Rs 10,000. But after the criticism from the media and various sections of society, the division fixed the maximum fine at Rs 1,000.
The division has been booking bikers and motorists for drunk driving (MaPaSe) and fining them Rs 1,000 and making it compulsory for them to attend an hour-long class on traffic rules. It has been charging Rs 500 for those who violate lane discipline.
“We have placed the dummies with placards so that people are aware of the new rules,” said Dhakal. The office has installed mannequins dressed in police uniform in front of Singhadurbar, and in Maitighar, Naya Baneshwor, Baluwatar, Lainchaur, Bhotahiti, Bhadrakali, Thapathali, Kalimati, Kalanki, Jadibuti, Koteshwor, Gaushala, Purano Baneshwor, Krishna Pauroti, Nagdhunga and Jagati.
Rameshwor Yadav, newly appointed spokesperson for the division, said the division office is planning to install a total of 50 dummies across the Valley. He said the dummies, each of which costs Rs 18,000, also serve another purpose.
“We have installed the dummies with money from Kathmandu Metropolitan City,” said Yadav. “The dummies look like a traffic police, and during the night, people who drive under the influence of alcohol will take them for traffic police,” said Yadav.
He said those found violating lane discipline will soon be charged Rs 10,000. Yadav also said the department has already consulted the Department of Transportation to implement the new. “Till now, the law does not permit traffic police to charge more than Rs 2,ooo, but once the Department of Transport Management decides, violators can be charged up to Rs 10,000,” said Yadav.
Asked if the new fines were exorbitant, Yadav said “Once rule violators are charged, they will become aware and strictly follow the rules.” he said. In his conversation with Post, Yadav also said that police in developed countries charge violators exorbitant fines. So people hardly break the rules there, he said.