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Agency sits on traffic light job

The 21 traffic intersections in Ranchi continue to be mishap magnets because the agency tasked with signal maintenance in July hasn’t raised a finger in four months.

At most of these crossings, the red and green lights glow alternately without the amber — which is meant to prepare motorists for halt and start — blinking in between.

Sanjay Singh, a constable at Sarjana Chowk, emphasised that the amber light was integral to traffic management.

“When the light is red, it obviously means a motorist has to halt. But to make sure that the halt is not abrupt, the signal must go amber first. Similarly, when it goes from red to amber, it means ‘get ready’ so that a sudden start at green doesn’t lead to an accident,” Singh said.

However, on the capital’s roads, vehicles are at the mercy of a malfunctioning signalling system. “Traffic lights have not been maintained for a long time. The amber doesn’t glow most of the time,” Singh added.

Another constable at Ratu Road roundabout echoed him. “If we follow traffic lights, we will lose our jobs. We have to man traffic ourselves because the lights do not follow the signalling rules,” he said.

Ranchi traffic police had floated a tender in June and again in July to select an agency for maintenance of the signals. Only two bidders responded. Left with little option, the job was awarded to Chandigarh-based Diwali Solution Private Limited.

It has been fourth months since, but the selected agency has not laid its “expert hands” on any of the 21 traffic lights.

“I am scared to drive. To be safe, I prefer stopping behind a car at signals so that I am not the first one to bear the brunt,” said Pramod Kumar, a banker from Seramtoli.

On when the lights might be fixed, traffic SP Rajiv Ranjan pleaded ignorance. “I will have to find out. I have not checked with the agency of late,” he said.