Pollution

Noise pollution, traffic woes, drugs bigger issues for Mumbai than gangsterism, says police commissioner

Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Pandey has said that noise pollution, traffic woes and drugs are the bigger problems faced by the citizens than gangsterism or organised crime.

Speaking at the Mumbai Press Club on Tuesday, he said that this was the “surprising learning” he had based on the response he received from the public after sharing his personal number and social media accounts asking them for suggestions.

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“When I took over as Mumbai police commissioner (on March 1), I thought the biggest issue plaguing the city would be gangsterism or organised gangs. Based on the response from Mumbaikars on my personal number and social media, I found that the biggest issue was noise pollution and traffic. Children and senior citizens are not able to sleep at night due to noise pollution,” Pandey said. While criminal gangs target a few people, these issues impact everyone, he added.

He said that the police have started taking action against builders who do not stop construction works after permissible hours. “They think we will only take action under the Bombay Police Act. However, we will soon make them sign a bond of good behaviour failing which they would need to pay fines in lakhs of rupees and could also end up behind bars,” the commissioner said. He added that they have also asked builders to put sound cutters at construction sites.

Talking about the issue of traffic, he said that one of the first decision he took was to disallow towing. “I faced some backlash for the decision. However, there is hardly enough space in the city for people to park their cars. My own The vehicle was towed in the past and it was a harrowing experience,” he said. He further added that he has been receiving several complaints from tenants against housing society committees who he said at times go over and above powers vested with them when it comes to the collection of maintenance from tenants.

When asked about the biggest challenge when it came to crime, Pandey said, “I would say the menace of drugs. It is destroying an entire generation. You will soon see action on that front.” Responding to a question on cybercrime, Pandey said : “There is a need for an act for cybercrime. While the IT act has some sections that deal with it, it is more so in an auxiliary manner. In other countries, such laws to deal with cybercrime were brought in decades ago.”

He added that with head constables receiving training in crime investigation, the force now has nearly five times more manpower than it had earlier to investigate cases. On the question of the police struggling to collect fines owed in e-challans, Pandey said he personally preferred manual challans where money can be collected instantly as compared to e-challans.

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