Police are mulling to divide the traffic wing into two for better utilisation of the force.
The traffic wing of the police is under-staffed with 500 men working against a sanctioned strength of 800 homeguards and constables. The plan to divide the manpower is being considered because there have been complaints of the traffic cops only collecting fines and being lax on regulating vehicles.
According to the plan, one part of the wing will concentrate on traffic regulation while the other would focus on fine collection.
Till January, Patna city superintendent of police (SP) Jayant Kant had the additional charge of traffic. Recently he told The Telegraph that Rs 2.75 crore had been collected in traffic fines last year. On January 22, the government appointed Rajeev Mishra, a 2010 batch IPS officer, as the Patna traffic SP.
A police officer said: “Most of the traffic policemen posted in different areas of the city, including Boring Road roundabout, Raja Bazar and Dakbungalow roundabout, only concentrate on collecting fines. There have been complaints that while people struggle in traffic snarls, the constables and officers stand in a corner to fine motorists. The police want to change this practice, as traffic snarls have grown in the city.”
He added that the plan had to be discussed in detail with senior officers.
“One needs to plan the whole thing in a proper way so that it does not fall flat. For this, the idea needs to be discussed in detail with the senior police officers and the other agencies. There can be two groups working side by side when it comes to managing traffic. One group would only focus on traffic regulation so that there are no snarls. The other group would only focus on fine collection. There would not be any clash between the responsibilities, as none would encroach upon the other’s work. The plan sounds good but would be implemented only after proper discussions.”
Among the issues to be discussed is the manpower of the traffic police, which is severely hit. Apart from shortage of home guards and constables, there are several vacancies for inspectors and sub-inspectors in the traffic wing.
“The traffic police are under-staffed. So, if at all two groups need to be formed, it has to be planned in such a way that traffic regulation is not affected in the city,” another officer said.
Residents out on the roads everyday are, however, afraid that the plan could be a disaster.
“At present, most of the traffic cops just stand in different corners of the roads. They are least interested in regulating traffic. At the Boring Road roundabout, I regularly get stuck in a snarl on my way towards AN College. This happens mostly because of the haphazard parking of autorickshaws. The constables just stand near the Sudha Milk counter trying to catch a motorist riding without a helmet. Once they catch any such offender, the motorist is taken to a senior officer sitting nearby. Dividing the force would mean less cops on the road and a traffic situation gone worse,” said Boring Road resident Rishabh Kumar Singh.