Evening 1900hrs, lane 6 KP (Koregaon Park) the usual friendly neighbourhood. I was there to pick up my son from his dance rehersal. I parked the car on the shoulder of the road, in the designated area for parking. I was back in half hour, to find small stick-on placed on the window with only a mobile number. I was about to ignore thinking it was some sales man who must have put it. Just then my son excitedly asked me "Daddy why have you put a cycle lock to your car, are you also scared some one will drive away". I astonishingly looked at the front wheel where his finger was pointing.
To my surpise I saw a huge yellow padlock tagged to my RHS front wheel. I guessed that probably the number on the stick-on is the key to this "cycle lock"
I called the number and was received by a very unfriendly voice which responded saying "BOLA". I probed and with certain "uncertainty" told where i was calling from and on hearing just the address that voice said "thamba tikde me yeto thodya velat", "tud" the phone was disconnected. I had not even completed my statement, however message received by me was loud, clear and rude.
I was now waiting in anticipation for this voice to arrive in a physical form. Looking at me and my anxious look another parent, incidently a "Sardarji" friend said, "koi nahi kuch der pehle mere saath bhi yahi hua, bol rahatha no parking main gadi hai, bas 200 rupee deye aur lock khul gaya, abhi woh aayega fine Rs: 500 with receipt mangega, tu bas 200 rupeye pakda aur tala khul jayega." making this statement in the most casual form, he disappeared in his car and drove away.
Anyway my wait was on and after 15 minutes one motor bike arrived with two guys they looked like tout's one chewing pan masala and both unkempt. I simply ignored them, but a similar padlock one like on car actually caught my eye, it was held by the pillion rider.
Walking upto me:
They: yeh aapki gaadi hai?
They: 500 rupaye fine dena padega..
I: Kis liye??
They: Yeh no parking hai aaj....
I: Kahan likha hai??
They: one guy point a finger towards a tree about 30 mtrs ahead and say's there is a signage of P1
I: there isn't any, I cant see!!
They (second guy): Arre udhar hai, aap jake dekho. In the mean time another guy pointed towards another tree across the road and said "woh wahan par bhi pati hai na"
I : Arre bhai kahan?
They: boss Rs:500 ka fine hai, jaldi pauti phado...
I (surprised): Tum ho kaun??
They: Traffic police contractor!!!!!!!!
I: Toh Traffic police kahan hai?
They: yeh hamara area hai... (sounded like some bhai)
I: Maine poocha police kahan hai???
They: doosre site pe hai... jaldi pauti phado.
I: Tumhare pass receipt book hai?
They (looking at me blankly): yeh raha (the first guy pulls out a government press printed and stamped receipt book from his baniyan and places on my car).
I: Yeh to police authority ke pass honi chahiye, tumhare pass kaise?
They: Aap fine bharoge kya saab, humko aur bhi jagah jana hai!!
I was stuck because the time 2015hrs and i was losing patience, these goon's had the key, my car was strapped. I was frustrated and trying to keep patience.
They: 500 rupaye fine.
I: mujhe receipt chahiye?
They: thik hai 500 rupaye... nahi to tumhari marzee?
They: without "pavati"
I: How much??
They: the second guy, (with glowing eyes) 200 rupaye (Sardarji was right)
I wanted to understand this whole issue, so demanded a receipt, paid rs:500. They reluctantly opened the lock and went away.
I am now writing to the traffic commissioner along with the copy of the receipt. I have also taken pictures of the entire parking area and also the hidden and invisible P1 and P2 boards.
I understand and respect the law, I obey the rules.
I definitely could have avoided the fine, but unlike our (civilized) regular habit and "jane bhi do yaaron" attitude of not exposing the wrong doings. I have decided to take the bull by the horn. I would want to use my influence to get some correct answers, rather make (or buy) my way out of problems.
I remember reading in news paper some day's back, that traffic police were serious of dealing with illegal parking in the city and they were definitely going to deal with people strictly and would impose fine.
I can assure that not a soul from the traffic department would have ever visited this site of Lane 6 KP to identify the location of these boards P1 and P2.
Infact, am more traumatized because the illegal parking of the tourist buses in the heart of the city which cramps the traffic like Simla office, Station, Ruby Hall , Gunjan Chowk, Don Bosco road and many more still continue.
I felt cheated by the commitment of the traffic department and the system, because the fine collection has began to fill the pockets of the government, but the norms and system are yet not set.
The fine collector is an unidentified guy who bears no office nor authority to collect fine, but he carries a government press printed and stamped receipt book. (Telgi scam looks so normally possible)
My conclusion, "In our Pune the sound of money (fine collection) from rule offenders has travelled faster than the modified and appropriate traffic norms for safety and convenience which have not seen the day light."
My question and quest to get it answered by the Traffic department will be on.... ab ki bar main bhi peecha nahin chodunga.....