New Delhi, Nov 10: Planning to visit Chandni Chowk to buy exquisite jewellery? Or Sarojini Nagar Market for ethnic attire for Diwali? Don't be surprised if you see a policeman toting a placard warning that your vehicle will be towed away if you stop or park on the roadside.
The special drive by the Delhi traffic police has been launched to reign in the chaos during the festive season caused by the improper parking of vehicles.
The placards have a clear warning in bold red and blue: "NO HALTING, NO PARKING, Tow away zone. Fine Rs. 100ꧬ Towing Charges."
What's more, the policemen have been provided with cameras to take photos of illegally parked cars before towing them in order to deal with smart alecs who may claim harassment and fleecing by the police.
The drive, started in four Delhi markets - Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazar in the walled city, Sarojini Nagar and Lajpat Nagar in south Delhi - will take place during peak shopping hours - 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the evening.
Teams consisting of around half a dozen policemen including senior officials are deputed in a particular market at a time.
"Our officers are out on the road to regulate smooth movement of traffic," Sudhir Yadav, Special Commissioner of Police (traffic) told IANS adding that the police had also roped in the respective market associations and shopkeepers.
"We have told them (shopkeepers) to inform the nearest police official if they see anyone indulge in improper parking," he added.
This IANS correspondent visited the bustling Chandni Chowk and Lajpat Nagar markets and spoke to police personnel carrying the placards.
"People park their vehicles on the roadsides and wherever they can find space blocking half the road. This slows down vehicular movement causing jams and people very easily blame the police. We have limited resources and make the best of them," said a traffic police constable stationed at Lajpat nagar market.
According to police, if the drive is successful, it will be emulated in several other markets in the capital during upcoming festivals like New Years' eve.
Denizens of the city opined that the step was much needed and in the right direction.
"People in this city don't know how to drive properly, leave alone park their cars. This a step in the right direction but I wish the fine was more steep," 42-year-old Rakesh Malhotra, a shopkeeper near Sheesh Ganj Gurudwara in Chandni Chowk said.
Agreed, 38-year-old Madhu Chawla, a shopper in Lajpat Nagar: "Every popular market in Delhi is in a state of mess during festivals.
"No one follows proper parking rules which results in chaos. This was a much needed step," she told IANS.