Toto drivers gherao police officers to protest plying restrictions
Tension rose followed by massive traffic jam along Balurghat-Tapan state expressway near Bhachakbrighu area after Toto drivers gheraoed senior police officers demanding withdrawal of an administrative order.
The administration recently issued an order demarcating the areas of operation for the Totos plying in the rural and urban areas. The decision was taken after massive traffic congestion was reported from various areas. Senior officials of administration, police, municipalities, gram panchayats discussed the issue and decided that Totos which were being run in the urban areas would not be allowed to ply in the rural belt and vice versa.
Accordingly, the vehicles which are being run in the urban areas have been painted in blue and those that are being used in the rural belt have been painted in green. Till recently, around 2000 Totos used to ply in Balurghat town.
The traffic jams occurred after Totos from the towns began to ply in the rural areas and those running in the rural belt started coming in to the towns. The Toto drivers flouted traffic norms and traffic snarls had become a party of daily life.
After the administrative order came into force, massive campaigns had been carried out requesting the Toto drivers to follow the instructions. But they refused to obey the administrative order.
Early on Wednesday morning, large police contingent led by the DSP Soumyajit Barua and Sanjay Ghosh, IC, Balurghat police station conducted a raid in the areas surrounding Saroj Ranjan Bridge and began seizing Totos that had entered the town from the rural areas. The drivers put up resistance and gheraoed the police force demanding withdrawal of the administrative order.
RAF and Combat Force personnel went to the spot and chased away the Toto drivers restoring traffic movement. The district administration officials said that the crackdown would continue for safe and smooth traffic movement.