The Mumbai traffic police on Monday had to fall back on manual management at various junctions after traffic signals went off for two hours or more due to a power outage across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
Officers said that around 4,300 cameras were rendered useless, following which they had to rely on 700 battery-operated cameras to regulate traffic.
A senior police officer said that more than 1,400 personnel were deputed at various junctions on Monday. “Even the personnel who look after administrative work at traffic divisions had to be deputed on the roads. While both heavy and lighter junctions had to be manned, at major junctions, we had to depute three to four men to avoid congestion,” the officer added.
A constable stationed at Vakola junction said, “Initially, we came across motorists who argued with us. People were not ready to stop as the signals were not operating. So, later we started penalising them, following which people started obeying our directions.”
Congestion and slow moving traffic were reported at Pedder Road, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road, Sion Trombay Road, LBS Marg in Ghatkopar and SV Road.
A motorist tweeted, “Amid blackout in Mumbai, there is a huge traffic congestion on Sion-Trombay Road and continuous loud honking. The noise is unbearable.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police Somnath Gharge said, “On Mondays, we usually come across more south-bound traffic than other days of the week and the power outage added to it. Major arterial roads saw more congestion than it does on a regular basis.”
As the power outage even brought trains to a standstill for a few hours, people were forced to travel by their personal vehicles, hire cabs or autorickshaws, which added vehicles to the existing traffic congestion, said an officer.
“We have 5,000 CCTV cameras installed across the city and accordingly, our men at the control room would instruct respective traffic divisions. But on Monday, we could only make use of 700 battery-operated cameras, which have a back-up of two hours,” said an officer.
Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday demanded a thorough probe to ascertain what and who was responsible for the power outage.
Maintaining that the government should fix responsibility and accountability, Fadnavis said: “Problems multiplied for the common people, specially amid the Covid-19 pandemic. From water woes to non-functioning lifts to lack of facilities in hospitals, people experienced difficulties.”
“Will Maha Vikas Aghadi take the initiative to ascertain the cause behind the power failure and take pro-active steps to ensure that people do not face such a situation again,” he asked.