The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Chaos Street after class
- Top cop tips to overcome entrapment
Constables will be posted in front of all schools immediately to handle traffic congestions
An officer will be deployed at the police station closest to every vulnerable school so he can rush over in case of an emergency
Parking will be banned on either side of roads near the school
Fixed timings will be allotted ' say 10 minutes before school starts and breaks ' for vehicles to load and off-load students
Traffic awareness camps will be organised for guardians and children

Trapped in a traffic jam outside a school giving over' Dread picking up your child after class from the chaos corridor'

There's hope yet for harried parents and hapless commuters, with the police finally turning the traffic spotlight on the horror zones outside schools.

And it's not just the guardian and the passer-by who has to suffer the roadblock. Freedom from class for many like Gargi, Samadrita, Sonali and Tumpa means entrapment in fume and futility.

For all four students of the junior section of Gokhale Memorial Girls' School, on Harish Mukherjee Road, the nightmare begins after school gives over at 2.40 pm.

It takes these seven-to-10 year olds a long time to get out of the stretch in front of their school, that gets all clogged with the pick-up cars.

To make life easier for them and students of scores of other schools across Calcutta, Banibrata Basu, joint commissioner of police (traffic), announced a string of measures on Thursday aimed at curbing the chaos outside schools (see box).

'Thursday's inspection relates to Gokhale Memorial,' said Basu, 'but we are concerned at the plight of the children of several other schools. We are receiving complaints every day from neighbourhoods relating to illegal parking and jams near schools.'

Terming the time students are forced to spend in transit 'a shame', Basu said the measures would, hopefully, 'improve the situation for them'.

Basu announced the rectification measures, ranging from police posting to parking ban steps, in the course of an on-the-spot inspection of the regular traffic disorder in front of Gokhale Memorial on Thursday.

The inspection was not organised by Basu's department, but by a city-based non-government organisation (NGO), Janasanjog Mancha, that wanted to draw the attention of the police bosses to the traffic tangle that takes place on Harish Mukherjee Road every afternoon.

'Sir, can you do something for us so that there is no traffic jam' We can reach home faster and get some time to play in the evenings,' Sonali, 9, appealed to joint commissioner Basu when he stopped to interact with a group of stranded schoolchildren.

Applauding the NGO's move, Gokhale school principal B. Chakraborty said: 'A disaster is waiting to happen, as the traffic congestion problem in front of our school has spun out of control. The chaos due to the traffic congestion in the afternoon is so bad that we may not be able to take a child to hospital if there is an emergency.'

The traffic police boss said similar complaints have been received from residents near South Point in Ballygunge and Lakshmipat Singhania at Alipore.

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