The city’s traffic police kicked off its fortnight long traffic awareness programme yesterday to sensitise motorists about safety on the roads, but surprisingly no official from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) participated in the event. Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak claims he only received an SMS about the Safe Traffic Fortnight Drive from the Traffic Branch, but no formal invitation.
Veteran cartoonist Mangesh Tendulkar, who also participates in traffic awareness events, has blamed the PMC for lapses in carrying out its duties efficiently. He said faded paint at zebra crossings and non-functional traffic signals have been responsible for loss of innocent lives. He added that the city police and activists working on the traffic issue are also irke over the civic body not participating in the Safe Traffic Fortnight Drive.
Tendulkar said, “It is equally important that the PMC lays out the basic infrastructure for the city traffic issue in coordination with the city traffic police regularly. Instead, the civic body is giving permission for installation of electronic display boards that distract motorists. Even the electric inverter sponsored by the Rotary and Lions Clubs five years ago is not maintained at the busy Nal Stop Junction on Karve Road.”
Vilas Lele, member, Safe Traffic Committee, formed by the traffic branch of the city police blamed PMC’s traffic planner Shrinivas Bonala. “He is not interested to even listen to the traffic woes citizen face and quickly leaves meetings after finishing his speech.
Despite persistent demand for installation of reflectors on Garware over bridge at Deccan Gymkhana since the last six months, nothing has been done. Problems at Ganjwe Chowk on Shastri Road and Poona Hospital Junction are getting from bad to worse,” Lele said.
Meanwhile, City Police Commissioner Gulabrao Pol, said, “We had asked the civic body to construct an underpass or over bridge at Tilak Road and Laxmi Road where pedestrians face difficulty in crossing the roads due to traffic. These are demands that the civic body needs to redress. We also want to involve the PMC in the Safe Traffic Fortnight Drive, and the state Home Minister R R Patil may be present for the event.”
The other side
Mahesh Pathak refuted the charges. He said, “We have a list of accomplished works in the city related to traffic, which get done by the ward offices four times in a year. There is no lacuna or communication gap between the traffic police and the PMC. I had only received an SMS about the drive from the traffic branch and nothing else. If they had given us an invitation, I and the city mayor would have attended.” Rejecting Lele’s claims, Shrinivas Bonala, traffic planner and additional municipal commissioner (projects), said, “We attend the coordination meetings with the traffic branch every month and address their queries. We have completed many works in the past six months related to traffic, including painting of zebra crossings, road markings and footpath repairs. We spend Rs 6 crore to Rs 7 crore from PMC’s annual budget and JNNURM funding on traffic-related requirements.”