Traffic scofflaws in Jamshedpur have found a new technique to dodge police.
From 11 in the morning to 1pm, the scenes at Jubilee Park roundabout on Subernarekha-Link Road in Sakchi, Jugsalai-Station Road, Golmuri-Tinplate Road and New Purulia Road in Mango are almost identical everyday. Bikers, sans helmet, wait for an hour or more at a distance of about 100m from spots where traffic checking drives.
Their real intention? To escape paying fines, of course. For, they very well know that traffic policemen would carry out the crackdown for not more than an hour.
“Traffic checking to kuch ghanto ke liye hota hain. Utni jaldi nahin hain, iss liye wait kar lete hain. Checking khatam hone par jayenge (Traffic checking drives last for a few hours. I am in no rush, so I will wait for the drive to get over),” said Ashu Prasad, an intermediate student of Jamshedpur Co-operative College, who was waiting barely a few metres from Jubilee Park roundabout to avoid paying penalty.
So, why do traffic personnel spend only an hour or two for such drives? As expected, the answer is manpower crunch.
“Ideally, we should increase the duration of checking drives and include more places in our list. But, we have only 135 personnel on duty. We have to rotate them shift-wise. To man the traffic checking points for more hours, we need at least 1,000 more policemen in the five traffic police stations of Bistupur, Sakchi, Golmuri, Mango and Jugsalai,” said deputy superintendent of police (traffic) R.M. Sinha.
Sinha further claimed that they realised around Rs 25,000 penalty every day from helmetless bikers across the city, yet awareness about the need to abide by traffic norms is yet to catch up with them.
“They prefer to wait for hours rather than buying an ISI-marked helmet that will cost something around Rs 550-Rs 800,” Sinha added.
Interestingly, most of these traffic violators are aware of the importance of helmets.
“Helmet pehanna toh zaruri hain. Accident hone par sar mein chot nahin lagta hain. Dekhte hain zarurat padegi to kharid lenge (Helmet saves us from head injuries in case of accidents. If I need, I will buy one,” said Kameshwar Choudhary, who commutes on Jugsalai-Station road and often waits for more than an hour to evade paying Rs 200 as fine.