The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rally rules and million cars

M.K. SINGH, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), met readers of The Telegraph in his office at the Lalbazar police headquarters. Participants included Diptimoy Ghosh, Ram Avatar Mundhra, Tapan Kumar Das, Uttam Jaiswal, Raghunath Kundu, Jitendra Jhunjhunwala, Ajit Dubey, Sailen Bhattacharya and Subhamoy Ghosh

Diptimoy Ghosh: Private buses are driven at will. Sometimes, they crawl at a snailís pace. Or, they move at breakneck speed.

I am aware of the problem. My officers take action when they come across rash driving. I shall also request every passenger to note down the number of the bus and report it to us, so that prompt action can be taken against errant drivers. Sometimes, plainclothes policemen travel on buses and the drivers are booked, but something more needs to be done.

Diptimoy Ghosh: Rani Rashmoni Road and Esplanade remain occupied by political activists. Traffic cannot move and pedestrians have lost all access to footpaths.

Regarding footpaths, we have worked out some improvement on S.N. Banerjee Road and Chowringhee. We have conducted an elaborate analysis on processions and rallies on the city streets. We have suggested that processions be brought out between 11.30 am and 4 pm only. The recommendation has been forwarded by the commissioner of police to the minister concerned. We want the timings to be observed strictly.

Diptimoy Ghosh: Auto-rickshaws remain unruly and flout every traffic rule.

Both the police and the Public Vehicles Department are aware of the menace.We have introduced a hologram to keep a check on illegal autos.

Subhamoy Ghosh: Driving at night can be quite hazardous as there are no policemen and every motorist is out to break every traffic law.

Traffic guards remain on duty till 10 pm. If any trouble arises after that, they cannot be held responsible.

Ajit Dubey: Traffic at the Mahatma Gandhi Road-Chittaranjan Avenue is chaotic, especially when headed for Howrah.

You are right. We will take action. We wonít allow any vehicle to break the law.

Ram Avatar Mundhra: Mahatma Gandhi Road is one-way, but slow-moving vehicles block the carriageway.

We are disciplining one area after another. Our prime target is the traffic at BBD Bag, which is the cityís central business district. Gradually, we will take up the other areas. It is very difficult to keep the streets free of traffic jams, as more than a million vehicles ply on them on any given working day.

Uttam Jaiswal: Pavements are either dug or dumped with rubbish, if vendors have not already encroached on them. What do you suggest pedestrians to do'

Actually, roads are dug up by different agencies. We request them to repair the road after work, but in most cases, the appeal goes unheard. To rein in hawkers, we conduct raids from time to time but we need more cooperation from the people.

Raghunath Kundu: Jamunalal Bajaj Street is chock-a-block with traffic, specially cycle-vans.

If you lend a hand of cooperation, this problem can be tackled fine. Actually, the Calcutta Municipal Corporation issues licences to rickshaw vans, but we are empowered to regulate their presence on the streets. Specially during peak hour, we make every effort to keep the traffic flowing. For your information, by peak hour we mean between 9 am to 11.30 am and again, between 4 pm to 7 pm.

Jitendra Jhunjhunwala: In some areas, pedestrians walk on the carriageway and avoid the pavements.

We are really helpless and we need help from people like you to check this. It is extremely distressing to see people walking on the main thoroughfare, while the footpaths are free.

Sailen Bhattacharya: At Maniktala, the traffic signals are defunct.

The traffic lights at Maniktala were installed on an experimental basis. We hope the problem will be sorted out soon.

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