10 years after ‘Tiger’ towing vehicles were introduced, operation
Mysuru: The city has been rid of ‘Tigers’. The Traffic Police have cracked the whip on these ‘Tigers’ following public outrage and complaints of misuse.
They are every motorist’s nightmare. Vehicle owners live in constant fear of notorious tow truckers aka ‘Tigers’, who lose no opportunity to quickly take away vehicles at the first sign of illegal or haphazard parking. These private operators, hired by the Police themselves, are nothing short of a menace.
Now motorists can heave a sigh of relief as the Police department has cancelled the operations of ‘Tigers’ following complaints. These private operators behaved like anti-social elements and often did not even bother to check whether the vehicles they are taking away are properly parked.
Vehicle owners have expressed outrage and indignation at this unfair treatment and the social media pages of Traffic department is usually flooded with videos and photos of these unscrupulous elements.
These ‘Tigers’ were introduced to Mysuru in 2009 and the first ‘Tiger’ started its operation in Devaraja Traffic Station. Gradually, the operations expanded and even the ‘Tigers’ grew in numbers.
According to the Police, if a vehicle is found in a ‘no parking zone’, two-wheeler riders have to pay a fine of Rs. 300, of which Rs. 100 goes to the ‘Tiger’ team and Rs. 200 to the Department. The towing operators are hired on a contract basis.
Usually, one Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI), one videographer, one driver and three (sometimes four) vehicle lifters are deployed in each ‘Tiger’ vehicle.
However, due to staff crunch, very few vehicles are accompanied by the ASI and the videographer and the towing operations are carried out by unruly private operators who used to lift anywhere between 25 to 30 two-wheelers per Police Station.
Often, there are confrontations between the public and the Police over towing. Many commercial localities and old revenue areas with narrow roads and small houses do not have open spaces for parking vehicles.
Therefore, vehicles, mainly two-wheelers, are parked in front of the houses, and are often taken away by the ‘Tiger’ on the ground that they obstruct traffic. The Traffic Police have often come under attack from different quarters for towing away vehicles “without sufficient reason.”
Public alleged that even vehicles that are parked in front of hospitals and medical shops to attend emergencies are towed away and even vehicles that are parked barely on the line that divides the road and the parking space are towed away.
Moreover, there is no system by which the public can know which Police Station they should approach to get back their towed away vehicles.
A major allegation against the Police is that they tow away vehicles to “make a quick buck” or to achieve the target of number of cases registered. Another allegation is that they do not take adequate care of the vehicles and they bear dent and scratch marks.
Speaking to Star of Mysore, Traffic Assistant Commissioner of Police G.N. Mohan said that the city will not have ‘Tiger’ operation anymore. “We have received numerous complaints and we have decided to cancel the private contract. Earlier, the ‘Tigers’ used to operate from Devaraja, Krishnaraja, Siddhartha, V.V. Puram, Kuvempunagar and Narasimharaja Traffic Stations,” he said.
In the absence of contracted ‘Tiger’, the Police will now utilise their own towing vehicles to take away wrongly parked vehicles. “People often feel offended when they are asked to remove their vehicles or when vehicles are towed away. They must understand that vehicles cannot be parked in non-permitted areas. We will use henceforth wheel lock system to deter illegal parking,” he said.