City-based organisation Pedestrians First has urged Pune Police Commissioner Rashmi Shukla to give priority to traffic management, ensure smooth flow of traffic and boost to safety of commuters. The NGO, which takes up issues of pedestrians’ rights and safety, has called for two separate traffic police wings — one for traffic regulation and the other for traffic enforcement.
“There are several reasons for the serious traffic problem which the city is facing. However, the root cause of the problem is the fast increasing number of vehicles on the road. The large vehicle population, which has already crossed 30 lakh in Pune, is a direct consequence of a very poor public transport bus service and inadequate facilities as well as unsafe conditions for walking and cycling,” said Prashant Inamdar, a member of Pedestrians First.
The NGO said that in the current system, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is responsible for roads, traffic infrastructure and traffic engineering whereas traffic police is required to manage traffic on the road. “It is a fact that Pune traffic police face severe limitations due to inadequate infrastructure, essential provisions and manpower considering the total area, road length, number of road junctions and vehicle population of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. However, we believe that better traffic management is possible with organisational improvements.”
Inamdar said there should be separate regulation and enforcement. “In our opinion, the first priority in traffic management should always be for traffic regulation and control aimed at smooth flow of traffic and traffic safety. Enforcement and penalising should get second priority subject to manpower availability. Even in enforcement, the focus should be on overall traffic safety and discipline rather than matters of individual safety. Regulation and enforcement being two independent activities, it is necessary that both should proceed independent of each other,” he said.
Therefore, Inmadar said they have proposed that there should be two separate wings in the field staff of Traffic Police — Regulation wing and Enforcement wing. “Staff should be allotted accordingly as per requirement and availability with priority to regulation. Wardens provided by the PMC should be in the Regulation wing only and not attached to the Enforcement wing.”
Pedestrians First has suggested the use of “khaki clad” policemen for traffic matters. “It is a fact that the present strength of Pune traffic police is far less than required to manage the traffic in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. Obviously, this has an adverse impact on traffic conditions. We suggest that the services of khaki clad policemen be utilised in the areas covered by the respective police stations/chowkies. This will not only ease the burden on the traffic police but people are likely to be more disciplined when they observe khaki-clad policemen on traffic duty,” he said.