The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Police deaf to Buddha road sermon

It’s back to square one on the streets, a week since chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee laid down a few rules to streamline the city’s chaotic traffic. Concerned over jaywalkers and the rush of vehicles, Bhattacharjee had drawn up a list of instructions at a high-level meeting on March 17. The police were directed to take steps accordingly.

A trip across the city on Tuesday, however, revealed that the chief minister’s message had scarcely reached the cops on the streets. Jaywalkers were spotted on Park Street, Esplanade, BBD Bag, Ultadanga, Rashbehari Avenue, Camac Street, Shakespeare Sarani and even on Lalbazar Street, in front of the city police headquarters, under the sergeants’ noses. The deputy commissioner of traffic detained a youth trying to weave his way through heavy traffic on Park Street and charged him with jaywalking.

Metro found a sergeant and two constables supervising traffic at the Lenin Sarani-Chowringhee Road intersection as people scampered or ambled across the road. The cops did not make any effort to prevent or prosecute the jaywalkers. “We have not received any circular to stop jaywalkers. There are so many traffic rules, but where is the time to implement them'” they asked.

The chief minister was unhappy at the way buses stop in the middle of the road to pick up passengers and then race ahead. On Tuesday, buses continued to stop in the middle of Chowringhee Road, Central Avenue, Syed Amir Ali Avenue, CIT Road and AJC Bose Road, while policemen looked the other way. Five buses were found garaged on Sidhu Kanu Dahar with two cops at a stone’s throw.

Bhattacharjee had also taken exception to auto-rickshaws being parked on thoroughfares and urged the police to intensify their drive. Till Tuesday, there was no sign of the “intensified drive”. Autos flouted rules at Ultadanga and parked on either side of Hazra Road, near the Ballygunge Phari intersection, not too far from the chief minister’s residence. They had a free run at Gariahat, Ultadanga, Sealdah, Rashbehari Avenue and Taratala, too.

Deputy commissioner Singh admitted that there is a tendency among “the lower-level policemen to take instructions for granted. We have to monitor the streets to ensure that the instructions are being implemented by the policemen,” he added.

At the same time, Singh criticised the role of the motor vehicles department. “The officers are supposed to participate in raids with the police against buses and autos. But they do not turn up, despite repeated requests,’’ he added.

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