Sunday, November 08, 2009

CASH-ALLERGIC COPS SET UP ‘HUNDI’

CASH-ALLERGIC COPS SET UP ‘HUNDI’
Magadi Road traffic police convert a traffic shelter into a cash collection box, where private buses seeking thoroughfare drop cash and move ahead with no questions asked
M K ASHOKA


The Magadi Road traffic police will ‘not touch money’. To be precise, they will not accept money (err, bribe) by hand. Instead, they have issued unwritten instructions to the drivers of private buses to drop cash into a traffic shelter.
The shelter, which is strategically located at a busy junction, has now transformed itself into a cash cow that milks private buses that seek a thoroughfare.
‘HAFTA’ POINT
After receiving a series of complaints about the Magadi Road traffic police at the Leprosy Centre junction for allowing private buses proceeding to the neighbouring towns to pass through Magadi Road after collecting hafta, we went to figure out what the real situation was.
The private buses heading towards Magadi, Kunigal, Amruthur, Bellur Cross and Savandurga were allowed to go through Magadi Road, one of the most congested roads in the city, causing traffic pile-ups on the road.
STOP, DROP, GO
The passage for vehicles is smooth. As they pass the shelter-turned-cash box, assistants in these vehicles drop cash into the shelter and the driver moves on. More than 20 private buses passed through the road even as this shocked reporter saw them dropping ‘hafta’ into the box.
The police, who are known to think ‘out of the box’, remained out of the cash box, while drivers or their assistants dropped cash into it. The police, however, checked their collections after every three buses passed by them.
Cash was thrown into the box when the police sat under the traffic shelter. The police did nothing other than fiddling with their mobile phones as if nothing had happened at the junction.
‘COLLECTION’ JAM
According to sources, police collected money after allowing the private buses to join the Magadi Road via Prasanna Theatre junction. Buses used to stop at the junction to hand over cash to the waiting police, causing traffic jams. When the public objected, they began collecting bribe even when the buses were in motion, they said.
As per rules, these vehicles are to reach the Leprosy Centre Junction via Dr Rajkumar Road. The Leprosy centre staff and relatives of some patients complained the police do not allow vehicles carrying patients citing this rule and ask them to take a detour to reach the hospital. But they allow the private buses to pass through, they said.
Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari has issued strict orders to the traffic department to tame the cops who receive bribe. Yet, this ‘fee’ collection drive goes on unhindered.

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