Two days ago,I went shopping in a locality near my house and parked my car in front of a jewelry store. There was no “No Parking” sign anywhere. After I returned to my car after making the purchase,I was surprised to see that the front tire of my car was “locked” by a wheel clamp (so that I could not drive off) . There was a number in a piece of paper that was held against the windshield by a the windshield wiper. I called the number and the voice at the other end informed me that I had ‘violated’ the traffic rules by parking in a NO PARKING ZONE and that my car would be towed away within the hour.
I waited patiently for 15 minutes after which a small tow vehicle pulled up accompanied by 2 motorcycles with people in plainclothes.The police in the pickup truck signaled to the guy in plainclothes who undid the wheel clamp. The traffic police then asked me what my occupation was and where I lived (to gauge the amount of money that could be extracted ) and finally said “If I book a case,you will have to pay Rs.1500.Since it is the first time you pay just Rs.200 ;just be careful in the future”.
Now this post is not a rant about paying bribes or about unclear NO PARKING signs.This post is about how traffic cops have now outsourced the “spotting of prospective candidates” to others to increase ‘revenue’. Usually the people who are identified by the traffic policemen as “prospective candidates” are spotted and flagged by the policemen themselves.In my case, the plain clothes policemen in the motorcycles (not even sure if they were police) were the ones who helped spot “offenders” (I hung around for some time in the area to confirm this by observing ).
Everyone adheres to guidelines when there is a cop nearby,so the cops have come up with this unique (though questionable) means of identifying offenders.
This is the reason webcams are not installed at vantage points—the presence of webcams would mean that money garnered from traffic rule violations would never reach the pockets of the traffic cops.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.Also,let me know if the term I coined for this (see title of post) is appropriate 🙂