'Some factors can't be avoided'

'Some factors can't be avoided'

Sudhir Yadav, special commissioner of police (traffic), highlights challenges faced by the department during monsoon and suggests how regular drain desilting efforts by civic agencies can help tackle traffic jams caused by waterlogging. He speaks to Vishnu Sukumaran. Excerpts:

Do senior officials of your department meet their counterparts in the civic agencies for joint plans to ensure smooth flow of traffic during monsoon?

We do hold regular meetings and communicate with officials of the trifurcated Municipal Corporation of Delhi, New Delhi Municipal Council, public works department and other civic agencies to tackle problems due to rains. Civic agencies have identified and informed us of several areas where waterlogging is usually expected. We also anticipate vulnerable stretches based on our experience. After our meetings, it has been decided that more officials and vehicles will be deployed on such roads to clear traffic and help people. 

So, despite these measure, why do the agencies fail to prevent waterlogging?

They civic bodies claim that they desilt drains well ahead of the monsoon season to avoid waterlogging, but it is a fact that their claims tend to fail even after the slightest of rain.

However, I do agree that the Indian road conditions, limited drainage space and waste material strewn on roads add to their problem. Dust and waste material, including leaves, clog roads despite desilting efforts, and this can only be noticed when it rains. I do believe that civic agencies deploy all their desilting vehicles and manpower to clear clogged roads when waterlogging is reported. One way to tackle this crisis could be regular desilting near traffic jam-prone spots. 

Apart from waterlogging, what do you think are the factors that lead to traffic jams?

One of the major causes of concern is the increasing volume of vehicles in the Capital.

After rains, apart from waterlogging, traffic jams are caused by four-wheeler drivers who tend to slow down for safety reasons and two-wheeler drivers who stop under flyovers, Metro pillars and bus stops to avoid getting drenched. They eventually cause accumulation of vehicles at one spot and create bottlenecks. Broken down vehicles and fallen trees tend to further slow down traffic. These are some factors that cannot be avoided or blamed on anyone.

Keeping these in mind, what are the measures the traffic police are taking this season?

Specific instructions have been issued to the deputy commissioners of traffic police to be alert and deploy maximum officials available on the roads. We have also issued instructions to police control room vehicles to help people if they notice any broken down vehicle. Our cranes and other vehicles will be deployed in every district to clear broken down vehicles and fallen trees as soon as possible. Based on our past experiences, we are geared for the challenges.

We further plan to involve the public in dealing with the menace, and launch awareness programmes in which people will be encouraged to avoid roads where continuous traffic snarls are reported.

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