The alarming number of road accidents in Bokaro has got the police thinking, but one doesn’t have to try hard to look for reasons for this dangerous trend that has claimed more than 600 people in the last three years.
A police force woefully short of manpower and without standard equipment — from breathalysers to walkie-talkies — to monitor unruly traffic has all but given up.
Bokaro’s DSP (traffic) Mukund Singh elaborated his problems. “We are forced to work with only 24 policemen. Four to five are always on leave, forcing me to extract double shifts from almost all the remaining policemen,” he said.
Bokaro is supposed to have 274 policemen in the traffic department. This includes a DSP, a major, three sub-inspectors, six ASIs, 50 havildars, six civil jamadars and 200 traffic policemen. But as of now, Bokaro traffic department is left with one DSP, who also holds dual charge of DSP (headquarters), one sub-inspector, four havildars, one driver and only 24 traffic policemen.
According to official records, Bokaro witnessed 323 accidents in 2012 and 315 in 2011. But, as many as 78,000 new vehicles were added in the last five years. Before this, around 1.8 lakh vehicles plied the streets of Bokaro.
In 2007-08, as many as 13,250 new vehicles, including cars, trucks, trekkers, three- wheelers and two-wheelers were registered in Bokaro. The corresponding figure for this financial year is expected to be in the range of over 25,000.
Understandably, the number of licences issued from Bokaro has also risen gradually. In 2005-2006, 7,334 driving licences were issued, followed by 8,186 in 2006-07, 10,091 in 2007-08, 12,087 in 2008-09, 14,525 in 2009-10, 15,000 in 2010-11 and about 16,000 in 2011-12.
Perturbed over the rising number of accidents, especially on NH-23 — it links Ramgarh, Bokaro and Dhanbad — SP Kuldeep Dwivedi has sent out a fresh request for manpower and equipment to the state headquarters in Ranchi.
Apart from breathalysers to check drunken driving and speed guns, the SP has also asked for short-range walkie-talkies that are essential for policemen to stay in touch.
“Once the demand for more staff and better equipment is met, the police will be able to enforce traffic rules far more effectively,” said Dwivedi, but added that those using vehicles must also ensure they drive responsibly.
Singh said Bokaro police collected about Rs 24 lakh per year in fines. “Yet, we do not have requisite equipment that will help us do our job better,” he rued.