A single constable on an average controls about four to five traffic signals in the city at present,the state traffic department said on Monday. The statement of the department came in response to a public interest litigation filed in the Bombay High Court by the Bombay Bar Association seeking better implementation of traffic norms.
Government pleader J S Saluja,who made the statement,admitted that there was a serious shortfall of personnel to man traffic,but claimed that vehicular movement can be regulated even with this ratio.
Responding to the PIL,the bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Ranjit More suggested that the department should make efforts to increase its strength to ensure that at least every traffic signal in the city has a constable.The judges suggested that ideally,there should be two personnel present at each major junction.
The bench also reacted strongly to the disclosure that the department at present has 1,630 constables and merely 309 head constables. How can 309 head constables cover all traffic signals in Mumbai? the judges asked.
Reacting to a suggestion made by the petitioners lawyer Armin Wandrewala,Chief Justice Shah said,There are two major issues either the constable present at the spot should have the power to impound the licence of the errant driver,or at least he should have the power to issue challans on the spot.
During the hearing,Saluja had said constables were not allowed to impose a fine on the spot because of a fear of corruption and harassment by commuters. The court,however,questioned this rationale,asking,Why do you have so much more faith in head constables?
The BMC,meanwhile,told the court that it has begun work on repainting zebra crossings in the city and expects it to be completed by March 31.