Adding to the chaos in Mumbaikars’ daily commute – being forced to cross a busy road as footpaths are not passable or no zebra crossings or pedestrian signals, now in some buzzing areas of the city, the purpose of traffic lights has ended in just a colourful decoration done by the corporation or government at crossroads. While our country’s road accident statistics reveals, every four minutes there’s one death due to road accidents, Mumbai has got the dubious distinction in 2016 with 24,639 recorded cases road accidents in which 467 people died, 2,305 sustained were seriously injured while 911 escaped with only minor injuries.
Keeping in mind these alarming numbers, the latest concern is the mass traffic violation at Lal Bahadur Shastri Road, Sion and careless cops. Causing menace and risks to the commuters, the signal at the junction of L.B.S. Road and Road No 3-A Rani Laxmi Chowk, is neglected by the drivers; whereas the regulation of a red light – “you must come to a full stop behind the stop line” is ‘not considered an offence’. Drivers whoosh their vehicle breaking the rules and people on foot cross the stretch struggling between the high-speed vehicles. Though the department has posted constables, they are rarely available on duty as you can find them chit-chatting at one corner of the road guiltlessly leaving the signal unattended and failing to provide a smooth traffic flow.
When AV correspondent met Jubel D’Cruz, a resident of Sion, he expressed his heart out about his daily hassles. He said, “The traffic wardens posted at various traffic signals do not perform their job properly. While crossing roads, I have seen several people getting hit by vehicles and the traffic cops do nothing to help them out. A few days back while crossing the road at Sion to reach my residence at Dharavi, I was hit by a speeding car which did not stop even when the traffic lights turned red. My daughter was also hit by a speeding motorcycle few years back at the same signal and laid unconscious on the road for a very long time. The traffic havaldar who was present there did not even help her. She was spotted by her college friends and taken to hospital.”
Tamil Selvan, Sion BJP MLA said, “I appreciate the initiative taken by your team raising this issue in that particular lane at Sion. At present, I am out of station, I promise to take immediate action as soon as I reach Mumbai. I will also schedule a meeting with all the traffic police officers and the person at fault will be punished.”
Diwakar Raote, state Transport Minister said, “This issue comes solely under the Mumbai Traffic Police Department which comes under the state Home Ministry. We can’t issue comment or take any step on the issue.”
Vijaykumar Deshmukh, Minister of State – Public Health, Transport, Labour, said, “I will talk to the traffic police in charge of that area personally and will try my best to take swift action. I and my department will not let Mumbaikars suffer and will do everything possible to sort out this issue.”
Eknath Jadhav, Senior PI, Matunga Traffic Police, said, “I have to visit the place myself to know the issue properly and I will definitely take immediate action. Our responsibility is to take care of any discomfort of our people and we will fulfil that promise with our whole heart. We are public servants and we will go to any extent to provide comfort to Mumbaikars.”
A Sion native, Vishwanath Talekar said, “The Rani Laxmi Chowk junction has CCTV installed but nobody is there to abide by the rules. There is a school nearby the area and children face real hardship everyday while crossing roads. The local corporator is casual about all these and never takes action. Also, that within that small area, it has more than 3-4 signals creating chaos. Though traffic constables are always present there but they fail to control the congestion and maintain a balanced traffic.”
No fear of law and no fear of strict consequences, getting away with petty fine or bribe lead to such rule violations in different parts of the city. With so many youths dying every year, government needs to look after accidents as a public health concern and order traffic department to provide pedestrian-friendly crossings, act vigilant on roads and make motorists aware of wrong or illegal driving habits.
Video Credit: Jubel D’Cruz