For all intents and purposes, the road safety fortnight was envisioned as a time when different departments would take stock of things, and then think of ways to improve conditions for motorists and pedestrians on the city’s roads.
Imagine this correspondent’s surprise then, when the traffic department of the BMC, the city’s civic agency that is in charge of its 1,800 km of roads, struggled, and eventually failed to provide two basic figures from their records: the number of zebra crossings and speed breakers in the city.
ROAD SAFETY CAMPAIGN: A flop show
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Four hundred zebra crossings were painted in the city last year by the traffic department. Speed breakers were painted at the ward level, but no figures were submitted to the traffic department thereafter. As part of the road safety campaign organised by it, the state government had issued directives that clearly set out goals and objectives for the BMC to accomplish in course of the fortnight-long campaign.
The directives said the civic body was to repair roads, paint zebra crossings, maintain traffic signals and ensure that speed breakers are in proper shape. When MiD DAY approached the BMC to find out how many speed breakers or zebra crossings had been painted over the past 14 days dedicated to safer roads, they admitted that no such work had been done.
Asked why no special initiatives had been undertaken in keeping with the government’s brief, officials resorted to specious logic. BMC chief engineer for roads bridges and traffic, D R Dixit, said, “We did receive the directives and I have forwarded them to the official in charge of traffic. He will be looking into this. At many places, concretisation of roads is going on. All our work is aimed at making roads safer.
It is our daily job to maintain roads, not just for a week or fortnight. The maintenance of footpaths and subways is done on a daily basis. That is our routine work and we have moved tenders for repair of bridges in the city just a month ago.”
Deputy Chief Engineer R D Singh, said, “Road safety is not our duty, but the traffic police’s duty and they are doing all the relevant things in this respect. Our regular work is always on. We have taken no special measures during these 15 days. Signals are maintained by us on a daily basis and whenever a signal malfunctions, our employee attends to it within 24 hours of the complaint.”
Did you know?
There are two types of signals, Conventional and Area Traffic Control, in the city and almost seven per cent of them break down on a daily basis
Guidelines for BMC
Repairing and maintaining roads in the city
Maintaining signals, zebra crossings, footpaths, foot over-bridges and subways so as to prevent jaywalking
Identifying damaged accident-prone spots and repairing them
Organising sessions to discuss road safety issues
Creating awareness through newspapers, and television
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