A snarl at Lalpur Chowk, Ranchi, on Wednesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
If you ever wonder why commuting is a never-ending nightmare on Ranchi’s roads, stay informed that initiatives to streamline traffic or discipline pedestrians are born and bred to be short-lived in the capital.
A couple of years ago, the traffic police had embraced public address (PA) systems and flaunted digital cameras on arterial roads and key intersections to ensure snarl-free peak-hour travel through the city. Time took a toll on the twin campaign to keep road rogues on leash.
Today, it is back to jumping signals and jaywalking with a solitary watchdog somewhere down the road trying to regulate flow of vehicles and people. Their consolation: sun and rain shelters set up for them across the city.
The traffic cell of the district administration had set up public address kiosks at some important chowks like Albert Ekka, Lalpur, Ratu Road, Sujata and Kantatoli, where vehicle pressure is heavy and there are no demarcated pedestrian crossings, car lanes or bus bays.
A traffic constable, not willing to be named, admitted that neither the loudspeakers to alert wayward pedestrians and motorists nor the cameras to catch them on the wrong side of the law were in use at any of these places.
“Log kuch din ke liye public address system ka instruction mane. Baad me uska asar kam ho gaya. (Initially, people obeyed instructions on the public address system. But soon, the impact was lost),” he said, adding that they did not know where the gear was gathering dust.
Traffic SP Rajiv Ranjan said he had “no idea” about the cameras. “Probably, they were hired for a specific time period and not procured, which is why they are not in use anymore.”
On the MIA public address systems, he added: “These were installed during the National Games (February 2011) and are not in workable condition.”
Everything said and done, the traffic SP totally agreed that the public address systems were necessary to buffer chaos on Ranchi’s streets. “In fact, I am planning to write to my seniors for new gear for all the chowks,” he said.
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