With drunken driving on the rise in the city,the ill-equipped Kolkata police is struggling to deal with the problem.
Less than 250 traffic policemen,equipped with just two breath analysers,are posted on the city roads at night.
On February 17,three youths,driving under the influence of alcohol,lost their lives after they left a city hotel and decided to go for a spin near Eden Gardens.
In 2007,the city police had registered 81 cases of drunken driving,while in 2008 the number came down to nearly 60,attributed to the lack of policing. Kolkata has nearly 20 lakh vehicles,meaning as many drivers.
Since less number of traffic policemen are posted at night on on roads,offenders are not afraid of getting caught, said a traffic police officer.
Further,the police do not have adequate breath analysers.
We have 14 breath analysers,of which seven are under repair, said K Hari Rajan,Special Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic).
None of the 240 traffic sergeants on the streets know handling breath analysers. Only a handful of personnel under the special raids department can operate these. Therefore only five points are manned with analysers during the day and just two at night, said a senior official of the traffic department.
The trend of drunk driving is not very high in the city. But we definitely need to be prepared. Cases usually go up during weekends, said Hari Rajan.
If traffic policemen at all crossings are armed with analysers,it will instill fear amount drunk drivers,most of whom are youngsters, said the official.