Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Thursday finally convened a meeting to take stock of the blood on the streets and initiate steps to curb the accident count. The focus is largely on policing and prevention. But Bhattacharjee’s police department has done little to inspire confidence that it can make our streets safer.
Metro focuses on some recent traffic measures that have been major flop shows due to lack of proper implementation.
PLAN: An uninterrupted journey on Chittaranjan Avenue — from Esplanade to Sovabazar. The extreme right lane of both the flanks was earmarked for this and motorists were assured that if they stuck to it at a particular speed (40 kph), they would not have to stop at any traffic light.
ACTION: Police marked the extreme left lane of both the flanks as bus bays to ensure free passage for cars in the green corridor.
STATUS: The buses refused to stick to the bays and overran the entire stretch. With the police failing to penalise errant buses, the lights in the green corridor quickly turned red.
PLAN: Police marked the far left lanes of arterial thoroughfares — including Chittaranjan Avenue, APC Road and AJC Bose Road — to check reckless driving by bus drivers.
ACTION: For a few days, traffic cops, especially sergeants, were seen booking bus drivers who crossed the bus bay marking.
STATUS: That soon stopped and the buses continued their free run. The bus bays were converted into parking lots, adding to the chaos. Lack of policing reduced the bus bays to a farce.
PLAN: To prevent pedestrians from crossing roads violating traffic norms.
ACTION: Heavy deployment of policemen at important intersections — Chowringhee, Moulali, Ultadanga and more.
Hundreds of jaywalkers were slapped with a spot fine.
STATUS: The crackdown continued for a couple of weeks. The move fizzled out as Lalbazar said there were too few cops and too many jaywalkers. Pedestrians cross roads anytime, anywhere.
Hidden Eye on Bus
PLAN: To identify what traffic rules a bus driver violates.
ACTION: Policemen in plainclothes boarded buses as ordinary passengers and made a note on every rule flouted by the driver. Some drivers were summoned to Lalbazar.
STATUS: The exercise was soon stopped. The killer wheel count rises with speeding buses and careless cops.
PLAN: Policemen would visit homes of accident victims and capture the grieving relatives on camera to show killer drivers how they can ruin a whole family in a moment of recklessness.
ACTION: Some of the killer drivers were summoned to a room in the Police Training School where the tragic clips would be screened for two hours.
STATUS: The one-off measure did not have any long-term impact. Some drivers were arrested again for reckless driving within weeks of being shown the clips.