Manhandling the traffic cops
Traffic signals are for all, without any exception
In the capital city of Srinagar, which is plagued by unprecedented levels of traffic chaos, the Traffic Authorities had finally settled on a course of rearguard action. A weeklong interaction aimed to educate and, in some way, do pleadings with the general public (what has been termed as a sort of Gandhighari) to make them realise how important it was to stay by the side of traffic rules and regulations, drew to an end on Sunday last following which the traffic authorities made it known that the law will now wield the stick against violators. It was a clear warning to one and all particularly to our youngsters most of whom carry no licences, wear no helmets, drive recklessly and frequently indulge in wrong-side overtaking. It also meant that those who do not follow the traffic lights would be taken to task.
Everyone therefore had his eyes fixed on Monday, the 10th of September, when the much publicised action against violators was to commence. Nothing was though visible but the Traffic Department, instead, landed into an unprecedented embarrassment. One of its Sub Inspectors and a constable had to bear the wrath of the entourage of a senior cabinet minister for beings asked to abide by the traffic lights which had then turned red requiring all to stop till the light turned green. Everyone complied as a mark of respect for the rules, but the men in khaki escorting the Minister, had no such intent. Their attempt to breach the traffic light, while it was red, found a duty-conscious traffic sub-inspector stoutly preventing the minister and his entourage from moving on as that would lead to traffic problem at the junction. The incident happened in the morning hours when the traffic pressure peaks and everyone is in a hurry to reach his or her place of work on time. Probably, the minister and his escort believed that they were above the rules which is why they did not take kindly to the lawful act of the Sub Inspector and his cop. Both of them were thrashed mercilessly in full public view. What a pity!
It is widely accepted and appreciated that the installation of traffic signals at a number of junctions in Srinagar city has improved the mobility of traffic and eased congestion to some extent. People have been realising that following the traffic signals would actually ease their mobility. A general change in the psyche of the people is now becoming visible. Many a time it is seen that people stop their vehicles on seeing the red light even when the traffic is thin and the other side has none or hardly much traffic plying. One reason why there is increasing demand from the general public for installation of more traffic lights in areas where these are not presently installed is because they have now experienced its benefits. This heralds a perceptible change in the outlook and in the negative psyche that had hardened over the years, visible in rampant violations of traffic rules and regulations in which most of the drivers would indulge with alarming regularity. This in itself is no mean an achievement for the Government which has every reason to be satisfied with these gains and which it could now conveniently consolidate to bring more order in traffic conditions, curbing the wrong practices.
The incident of Monday was not only shameful but also reflection of a negative mindset that seems to exist somewhere in the higher levels of the Government. Far from caring for and nursing whatever small gains the local authorities have made in improving the traffic conditions of the City in the recent past, it shows a state of disregard for these achievements. It is a matter of genuine concern for the common people who are decidedly inclined to see continual improvement in the traffic conditions for the good of all if their ministers think but otherwise and behave in an unruly manner.
The traffic Department has done well to register an FIR against the Cops involved in the bizarre act of violence against their colleagues. But the job is only half-done. The minister concerned must also be made answerable for this. His conduct has brought a bad name to the Government. The Hon’ble Minister may need a lesson or two from his young and suave Chief Minister for learning how important it was for a minister to abide by the rules.
The author can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Thu, 13 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 13 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 14 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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