|Traffic speed limit boards at Tharpakhna (top) and Bariatu in Ranchi have been reduced to mere showpieces by the speed lust of motorists and bikers. Pictures by Hardeep Singh
Scene #1: A signboard opposite to DAV International School, Bariatu, limits speed to 40kmph. On Wednesday, motorists ignored the cap and zipped through the artery not caring two hoots for pedestrians, including schoolchildren and even patients since the area hosts a nursing home
Scene #2: The speed limit at the busy Karamtoli Chowk is 20kmph. Both cars and bikes were found paying scant regard to the rule and step on the gas whenever possible. The area hosts a private eye hospital, a dance school and also the Nabard office
Speed, the key culprit that caused the bizarre death of Union rural development minister Gopinath Munde in the national capital early on Tuesday, has many takers in the state capital where traffic signs are but showpiece with the police and administration lax on enforcement of rules.
Speed limit boards dot thoroughfares. They are also displayed near hospitals, schools, colleges and densely populated residential neighbourhoods, and yet vrooming bikers and motorists audaciously flout rules. Around 2,000 cases of speeding are registered across the capital city every month.
“Humko pata nahi hai iska kya use hai (I don’t know what this board is for),” claimed Montu Sinha when The Telegraph team caught up with his accelerating two-wheeler near the DAV International School in Bariatu.
Navin Toppo, who lives at Adivasi Hostel near Karamtoli Chowk, said he was scared of crossing the road. “The speed limit near our hostel is 20kmph, but the average speed of vehicles is not less than 60kmph. I frequently go to the grocery store across the road and do so in apprehension of being run over. There are no traffic cops around,” he said.
The brazenness of rule-mocking motorists is evident from how they don’t shy away from coughing up a spot fine of Rs 100 for speeding. Some do have debatable excuses such as inconspicuous display of signboards.
“We pay the penalty whenever we are asked to. However, the speed limit board lacks visibility. It is hidden somewhere. Police must ensure proper display,” said motorist Nitin Sinha who was in top gear near Ranchi Women’s College where the cap is 10kmph.
Ranchi traffic superintendent Rajiv Ranjan Singh denied the allegation.
“Along all important routes signboards are prominently installed asking motorists to slow down, but no one cares. In Jharkhand, speeding causes over 40 per cent road accidents. We can tighten the noose around offenders, but we cannot save their lives. It is a responsibility citizens must themselves understand and take up,” Singh said.
The traffic SP squarely blamed lack of road sense and the stubbornness against learning for the spurt in offences despite awareness campaigns launched by the department.
“Around 1,500-2,000 cases of speeding are registered every month. Overtaking, ignoring speed limits and other traffic signs and jumping signals are common. We have requested the headquarters to procure speed guns in bulk to help us control the menace,” he added.
Incidentally, the traffic SP had sent a formal requisition to the police brass for speed guns two years ago, but in vain.
How can speeding be curbed on capital roads?