Schools and collegesare the new ‘parking lot’

Campuses are being used to keep vehicles seized during lockdown

With schools and colleges closed for vacation and likely to remain closed in favour of online classes for quite some time, the Chennai police have hit upon an idea for the safe-keeping of vehicles seized during the lockdown.

Vehicles seized from the public for violating lockdown rules are being kept on campuses. With a majority of police stations in Chennai already lacking adequate space, this is probably the best possible way in which the issue of keeping additional vehicles could be addressed.

Having such a ‘dedicated’ space would ensure the safety of these vehicles, which are largely two-wheelers.

As per the existing norms, seized vehicles should be kept on the premises of the police station that has adequate space. And with most stations in Chennai strapped for open space, the police inspector at each of the stations was asked to make alternative arrangements. The options before them: Playgrounds, educational institutions and marriage halls within the police station limits.

“Just as in the case of vehicles involved accident cases, these seized vehicles have to be kept safe by the respective police station. Police personnel at the station would be liable for any theft, including missing spare parts of seized vehicles during the lockdown,” says a senior police officer.

A clutch of police stations in each locality come together to keep seized vehicles. For example, North Beach, Madras High Court, Seven Wells and Flower Bazaar police stations are making use of the playground at Sri Kanyaka Parameswari Arts and Science College in George Town. Similarly, Valasaravakkam, SRM and Royala Nagar police stations have kept seized vehicles at the playground of a private engineering college in Ramapuram.

Most of these vehicles are parked within the range of CCTV cameras at the educational institution for sake of safety. However, Aminjikarai police continues to use the open space below the Anna Arch flyover to keep the seized vehicles. It is said that a small team of police personnel has been asked to monitor these seized vehicles. “Once the lockdown restrictions are eased, we will return these vehicles to their owners after the order from the State government,” says a police officer.

Unlike last year, the ongoing intense lockdown that began on May 10 has witnessed fewer vehicles being seized. On an average, around 5-10 vehicles are being seized by a police station every day as against 25-30 vehicles last year.

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