HYDERABAD: In increasing number of incidents, abandoned vehicles in the city are catching fire, posing threat to the surrounding areas. This is amid an operational mechanism to tow and place such vehicles for auction by the city traffic police. A few days ago, a car parked and left abandoned near TSPSC office in Nampally caught fire much to the amuse of the public. However, it was not the first such incident in the city in the recent past.
These vehicles are also easy targets for anti-social elements who use them to explode deadly bombs. Besides, these vehicles are exposed to varying weather conditions, thereby becoming susceptible to fire.
A majority of such vehicles are found in the lanes and by-lanes of various localities in the city and are covered with thick layers of dust and garbage piling up all around. A considerable number of such vehicles are also found near parking lots and on some main roads.
"These vehicles catch fire mainly due to garbage being dumped around it. Dry leaves in the garbage are enough to emit sparks triggered by just a small cigarette butt," said V Papaiah, RFO, state fire services department.
According to the Hyderabad city police, 1,548 "abandoned and unclaimed" vehicles were put for public auction last year. The department expects the number to go up to 2,000 this year as an increasing number of offenders caught for drunk driving do not claim their seized vehicles from the police.
"The abandoned vehicles are equally distributed across city areas. They are kept mostly at traffic police stations and, after a certain period, are shifted to the open place near Goshamahal," said LS Chowhan, DCP, Hyderabad Traffic.
Currently, the department follows an elaborate mechanism to auction abandoned vehicles. "Announcements are initially made asking the owners to claim their vehicles. Thereafter, two notices are served to the owner of the vehicle at the registered address. If not claimed even by then, the vehicle is taken over by the department. The whole process takes six months," explained Chowhan.