As the Darjeeling traffic police started impounding vehicles parked illegally in and around the town, people welcomed the move and said that the police had done this for the very first time in the town. Residents also expressed hope that the traffic situation will ease a lot in the already congested town once such illegal parking trend stops.

The police also claimed that the move to tow away vehicles parked on the roads has led to traffic snarls easing a bit as compared to the situation only a few days ago.

“We actually began this drive on 4 July, where vehicles parked illegally are being towed. Presently, one vehicle has been pressed into service for the drive, with one more vehicle to be introduced soon. So far, 21 vehicles, both private and taxis (13 four-wheelers and eight two-wheeler) have been towed. We started the drive from Lebong Cart Road and continued it on Hill Cart Road,” said Dorjee Sherpa, the Officer in-charge, Sadar Traffic.

“We now see that there is no illegal parking in these two stretches, and this has helped traffic getting smoother in those areas. We now plan to conduct similar drives in different allies in the town,” he added.

According to him, issuing parking tickets to drivers alone was not helping much.

“After being towed, the vehicles are either kept at Dali or near Bhanu Bhawan, while the owner is being charged a fine and a court case also started for obstruction of traffic as per the Motor Vehicles Act,” Mr Sherpa said.

The traffic police are using a recovery van to tow the illegally parked vehicles on the road stretch from Ghoom to Lebong. Earlier, this month, the police here had also issued a notice to garage owners and show-rooms, highlighting the need to keep the National and State Highways clear.

A general notice was also issued to the public. Mr Sherpa said that to further lessen the traffic problems, designated stoppage points for passenger vehicles have also been identified and would be implemented soon. This stoppage-touch and go spots have been identified from Dali Gumba to the market area in the town. “We have identified 10 spots where taxis will be able to offload and pick passengers. We will try to appoint an officer and a guard at these points to make drivers and people aware of the same,” he said.