It won’t just be teachers who will be paying close attention to students from now on. Traffic police will also be keeping a stern watch on the areas outside and near schools and colleges in the city.
The decision has been taken after a number of cases of sexual harassment in school buses, accidents, rash driving have come to the fore. As per the plans, every school will have a constable assigned to it, while a college will be given an officer-level traffic policeman. Their duties would be to monitor traffic movement around the premises, monitor the institute’s vehicles and look after other issues that mar these educational establishments at large (see box for details).
“We want to improve the accessibility of cops to these students so that they are made aware of the traffic rules and related acts,” said Pratap Dighavkar, deputy commissioner of police (traffic). Each cop will keep watch on schools and colleges in city and western and eastern suburbs for a period of one year. The authorities also plan to show short films on accidents to sensitise students to the issue and make them aware.
Traffic police officials claim that they have already started taking action against ‘racers’ and bikers on the roads especially near Vakola, Bandra Bandstand and Reclamation, Kherwadi, Nirmal Nagar, the stretch at Sion-Matunga, Worli seaface, Western and Eastern Express Highways and other areas.
From the ones caught, the cops are obtaining information about others who race their bikes and drive rashly.
What the cops will do
>> Note down details of bus driver and cleaner: The traffic cop assigned to an institute will note down the names, mobile numbers and addresses (in city and native place) of drivers and cleaners of school buses. This is being done so that in case of any untoward incident, the traffic cops can assist the local police and authorities with the case. MiD DAY had reported that a school bus cleaner had raped a four-year-old girl in Badlapur (‘4-year-old from Badlapur raped in school bus’, September 15). The government has now made it mandatory to have a female attendant in school buses.
>> Regular discussions with school and college authorities: The deputed policeman will also meet the school and college authorities once every month, to discuss various problems that they encounter during the routine checks. These include parking issues, student problems, timings of students coming and leaving the premises. This will help manage traffic accordingly.
>> Readily accessible to students: The direct contact number of the assigned policeman will be displayed on the notice board so that students and teachers can call them, in case of any problems. The police will go around the school and college premises regularly.
>> Strict action against rash driving: These cops can immediately book students for rash and speeding, if found doing so outside the premises. Traffic officers feel that their presence would instill fear among the students, who are known to race around on their bikes and in their cars in large numbers.
They will also take down details of the bikers and students who are regularly seen breaking traffic offences.