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‘Level of awareness about traffic rules among Chandigarh residents is high compared to people from other states’

Parminder Chabbra, 60, traffic marshal with Chandigarh traffic police since 2009, lost four of his family members in a road accident in 1985, which proved a turning point in his life. He tells Saurabh Prashar challan drives are essential for curbing traffic violations.

Published: January 7, 2019 6:00:32 am
Traffic Marshal Parminder Chabbra in Sector 40, Chandigarh. (Express photo by Kamleshwar Singh)

 What do you say about drunken driving challan drives in Chandigarh? Do these drives deter people from drunken driving?

Over the years, people are being regularly challaned for drunken driving but there is no sign that it deters people from drunken driving. This New Year Eve, 205 people were caught for drunken driving. On the 2018 New Year Eve, 204 people were caught. There is only a marginal difference. This year eve, I was deputed at drunken driving naka on Sector 9/10 road and challaned 17 four-wheelers. Twelve vehicles out of 17 were of people from Punjab, Himachal and Haryana. Indeed, the level of awareness about the traffic rules among Chandigarh residents is high compared to people from other states. Being a traffic marshal, I personally believe that the people of other states are more vulnerable than the local residents as regards violations of traffic rules.

Do you think mere challan drives can make people follow traffic rules on roads?

We cannot ignore the importance of challan drives to make people follow traffic rules. Challan drives are essential for curbing the traffic violations and punishing the offenders of traffic rules. But at the same time, drives are also not the only solution. Awareness drives through school curriculums, street plays, movies and theatre also play a vital role. State police authorities are accepting it and today awareness drives are going on at a large scale at every level. Be it educational institutes, government offices and private establishments, awareness drives are held everywhere, which is a good sign.

What do you say about the performance of Chandigarh traffic police and allegations of corruption by local people against traffic police personnel?

On the issue of corruption, I will say the main reason behind the appointment of marshals is curbing corruption, bringing transparency in the challan system. Rest, we are given authority of making our comments on the official register about any wrongdoings on the part of traffic police personnel. And we make comments regularly, which cannot be disclosed on a public platform. If you see the performance in respect of challans and enforcement of traffic rules, UT traffic polices’ performance is so far better than other states’ traffic police. But there is always a scope for improvement. Every day new challenges are coming to the fore. Curbing the misuse of cycle track, green belts and noise pollution are the new challenges.

Why did you take the responsibility of traffic marshal in Chandigarh traffic police?

Look, I have been in the field of spreading awareness about traffic rules since the death of my four family members in a road accident near Kurukshetra, Haryana, in 1985. I lost one of my elder brothers, one niece, maternal aunt and a two-and-a-half-year old nephew in the accident. Since then, I started working in the field of spreading awareness about traffic rules. I joined Chandigarh Police as a traffic marshal in 2009. The work of marshal appeals to me. I am attached with four other road safety associations working in Punjab and Haryana.

What are the problems faced by a traffic marshal at traffic nakas?

We are the watchdogs, who were appointed for keeping tabs on the functioning of traffic police personnel. We are always vulnerable at nakas. Sometimes we are threatened and intimidated by traffic offenders. There are instances when marshals are knocked down and injured in a bid to stop traffic offenders.

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