Don't blame the traffic cops

The chaotic situation on roads and pressure on police will not change as long as unscientific drainage system is in place.  That is the collective voice of the traffic police, who are often criticised for struggling to control vehicular movement during a heavy rain.

Police identify problem area

The work of the traffic policemen is made more difficult by the secondary problems caused by asphalting work taken up by many corporators in their wards. Asphalting contractors have filled up vents below the footpaths that provide direct connectivity to the drainage.

With the vents closed, water gets accumulated very fast along the asphalted stretches, tangling up traffic and leading to jams. Unable to ensure smooth vehicular movement on those stretches, police are forced to change traffic patterns temporarily and convert one-ways into two-ways to decongest traffic.

Impossible situation

“It is impossible to handle. How can you make the traffic move when the entire road disappears in rainwater? The traffic police deliberately stop vehicular movement on certain stretches during downpour to ensure safety of road users, rather than ensuring smooth vehicular flow,” says Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Security) Praveen Sood.

The police would only be risking the road users’ lives if they are allowed to pass through some roads where water rises up to knee level. “Anything may happen if one rides his vehicle through water-logged roads. That’s the reason why people tend to feel that the traffic police are not doing anything,” Sood explains.

Stuck in rains for hours, commuters often end up abusing the traffic police, and refuse to follow their directions.

They blame traffic police are not seen when it rains heavily, but fail to notice the police soaked in rainwater and finding it difficult to perform their duty without the gumboots some times. “How can’t they be seen when thousands of them are deployed to help out citizens?” Sood asks.

Traffic police role limited

The duty of the traffic police is to enforce rules. They have no control over road-widening, increasing vehicular population or the construction of a scientific drainage system.

“How can you expect us to end road users’ miseries when roads are congested, when there is rain fury and when small islands are created on roads?

We have no magic wand,” says Ulsoor traffic police station inspector Kavitha M C. The traffic police immediately summon the entire staff of a particular police station, including those on general duty. They even take the help of staff attached to Law and Order stations. “We don’t know where our services are required. The plight of the staff on roads is beyond description,” Kavitha says.

The traffic police blame the BBMP staff for lack of coordination. “The situation has gone to such an extent that we need to carry some instruments, dig roads, create holes to drain rainwater. Not a single soul from the BBMP comes when their help is sought. They come after everything gets over,” says an officer. The police lament that their work under lashing rain for hours together, goes unrecognised.

“There are around 40 traffic police stations for the entire City with a population of more than 80 lakh and vehicular population of more than 40 lakh. Only around 2,500 police personnel cope with the workload in the entire City. Why can’t people understand our difficulty and cooperate with us?” Kavitha  wonders.

Motorists blame the BBMP for overflowing rain and drainage water on roads. “We can’t park our bikes and take shelter beneath a compound wall or a tree. The walls may collapse and trees may be uprooted anytime,” says U Umesh, a motorcyclist. He feels it is traumatic to ride bikes during downpours.

“You don’t know what lies beneath the rainwater on roads. You can’t make out where a manhole is and where road humps are. There is a greater risk of bikes skidding, if one wades through such stretches,” says B R Ravichandra, a software engineer.


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