Earlier this month,a police committee had found that tests by different breath analyser kits showed different results on the same subject. Jaidev Hemmady gets Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Nandkumar Chougule to speak on these kits,the very basis of his departments crackdown on drunken driving
There have been recent allegations that most of the the breathalyser kits used by the traffic police department during drunken driving campaigns are defective.
I want to clarify that the meters used by our department during drunken driving campaigns to prosecute drivers driving under the influence of alcohol are not at all faulty and in fact are in the best of conditions. The anti-drunken driving campaign by the traffic police department has been a successful one and we shall continue with the drive in the future.
The Haji Ali junction has been subjected to a lot of experiments in terms of diversions. Does the department have definite plans?
Yes,we do. In fact,we have sent a proposal to the government to have a car-deck from Madan Mohan Malviya Chowk to Annie Beasant Road. The car deck construction is feasible within three months using fabricated steel. There are proposals to build two other car decks at the Mahalaxmi end and on Bhulabhai Desai Road. If the proposals are approved,things will move forward.
What are the main challenges for the department? Lack of manpower?
Manpower is not a problem anymore as around 11,000 have been recruited recently. One of our main concerns is acquiring state-of-the-art technology. However,we are working on that too and there are plans to have over 1,000 CCTV cameras installed across the city,in addition to the 100 already installed by the traffic police. These cameras will hopefully help us monitor traffic in a more effective way. These cameras would have backups of images for the past seven days and would help us not only prosecute traffic rule violators but also keep a check on any criminal activity taking place anywhere.
What new plans can be expected from the traffic police in the near future?
We are planning to introduce the system of e-challan for fining offenders. A hand-held device would be provided to traffic constables. Whenever a constable apprehends a traffic violator,the bank account details of that offender would be fed in the machine and the device would deduct the fine directly from the account. We are also proposing,to the high-powered committee,sanction of high-occupancy lanes on both the Eastern and Western Express highways dedicated to BEST buses and carpools. High-occupancy lanes lanes will also be sanctioned from Suman Nagar to Dr BA Ambedkar Road and from Mahim to Worli.
There have been frequent complaints that BEST bus drivers do not follow traffic rules and indulge in rash driving. What does the traffic department plan to do about it?
We are aware that there have been many such cases of BEST bus drivers flaunting traffic rules. We have started roping in the fresh batch of bus drivers for extra training in traffic discipline while driving and it is an ongoing process. Hopefully,this should improve the situation.
With the number of vehicles on the citys roads increasing and extensive construction under way on roads across the city,what is the way out for smoother traffic flow?
The message we want to pass out to the public is that in the circumstances,by which I mean a lot of restrictions on movement due to the various infrastructure projects and the increasing number of vehicles on the streets,every motorist should make it a point to take care to follow road and traffic discipline. The absence of this would cause undesirable inconvenience to everyone. To avoid this,everyone should collectively work to make their journeys smoother,safer and hassle-free.