Unclaimed vehicles at police stations, a roadblock in Uttar Pradesh's cleanliness drive

World Monday 22/May/2017 17:48 PM
By: Times News Service
Unclaimed vehicles at police stations, a roadblock in Uttar Pradesh's cleanliness drive

Lucknow: At a time when ensuring cleanliness seems to be one of the priorities of the state government, cocking a snook at the drive is the sight of thousands of unclaimed vehicles parked on the premises of various police stations across the state.
Covered with multiple layers of rust and dust, the sight of pile of vehicles could be one of the reasons behind low ranking of Uttar Pradesh districts in the recent cleanliness survey conducted by the Centre. "Such vehicles are often damaged beyond repair and recognition. Their windscreens are shattered, doors unhinged, tyres punctured and steering wheels broken. Over the time they get reduced to mere scrap, which also becomes an environmental hazard," said a senior transport department official.
Besides, they also occupy crucial public space such as roads and footpaths at many places, like ones on the busy roads outside Naka and Ghazipur police stations in Lucknow.
According to a statewide list compiled by the transport department and put on its official website more than 46,000 unclaimed vehicles (two wheelers, three-wheelers and four-wheelers) are decaying inside or outside various police stations in the state's 37 out of 75 districts.
More than 4,000 such vehicles are parked at several police stations in Lucknow alone. Kanpur Nagar tops the chart with 6,515 abandoned vehicles. Agra, Ghaziabad, Aligarh, Mathura, Moradabad and Allahabad are among other prominent districts.
As many as 26,500 of the total unclaimed vehicles seized under various offences are the case property for the police. Most of the vehicles parked at police stations are the ones impounded by police or the transport department in cases of road mishap, theft, crime or non-payment of taxes.
"After they are brought to a police station, these vehicles are parked under an open sky exposing them to the vagaries of nature," said an official. Sources said since a majority of these vehicles were a case property, the police were supposed to take care of them till the disposal of the cases in courts.
"But the police are often forced to leave these vehicles to their fate because of lack of adequate parking space at police stations," they pointed out. "And since it takes a very long time for the courts to decide cases, these vehicles are often reduced to junk so much so that their owners never come to claim them even after the case is settled in their favour. Neither have they remained fit for auction by the time," they added.
"Presence of abandoned dirty vehicles at police stations is a stark reality throughout the state and a scar on the Swachh Bharat Mission," said Sri Ram Arun, former DGP. "There are two problems. One police have to preserve these vehicles as legal evidence till the disposal of the court case, second, police stations do not have a separate yard or parking lot for them," he said.
The solution to the problem, he observed, was that there should be a fixed time limit for keeping such vehicles as case property as police stations. "After that time limit, the police should hand over the vehicles to the legitimate owners or auction them after prior permission from the respective courts, Arun suggested.