The sweltering heat of the summer has forced many a car owners to rush to accessory stores and request them to apply black films or tints on the car windows, despite it being illegal.
The situation has now led to a booming illegal market, with the accessory store owners milking the situation by levying a heavy price on placing the tints or films on car windows.
“We have been getting a lot of requests since the past one month to apply dark tints. Each day I get at least 40-50 customers, who want to apply the tints despite knowing that it is illegal,” said Anand Gupta, owner of Car Sonics, an accessory store at Minister Road. He added although many shops strictly abide by the law, there are some who make the most of the situation, conducting the process behind closed doors.
“You won’t find it being done openly as some store owners send their workers to a customer’s home to apply the tint,” Anand mentioned.
Most car owners complain that not having any tint on their car windows decreases the cooling of the air conditioners. “There is no place to park cars anywhere, and even if there is, it is generally in a sunny place. What’s the point of having an AC if it is not effective at all?” questioned Tanveer Ahmed, a degree student .
P Ganesh, who works at an accessory shop at Lower Tankbund, said that shops were charging nearly double the price for the dark reels. After months of not being able to sell it, they are trying to get rid of all the stock they have. “Not just that, even the labour cost has been increased by at least `200 as people don’t really mind paying more because it is so hot now,” he stated, adding that since the drive taken up by the traffic police has subsided, few citizens are concerned about driving around with tints. “In Chennai, cars are allowed to apply reels within the prescribed limit. Many women and old citizens also come to my shop requesting to put the dark reels, but we are helpless,” Anand Gupta said, adding that the sale of screen pads has increased.
A senior traffic police officer said although the drive conucted by the traffic police last year was sucessful, officials now encounter many cars with tints on a daily basis. Many vehicle owners cite heat as the reason, and some even argue that there is no rule against using screen pads.
When contacted PVS Ramakrishna, DCP (traffic) said strict action would be taken against anyone flouting the rule. “Any material obstructing vision is also not allowed,” he mentioned when asked if screen pads can be used.