Ever seen an erratic traffic signal during late-night hours that sometimes seems more likely to cause an accident than rash driving? Chances are the problem might persist as the authorities concerned have deemed it less important than other issues.
The authorities point towards larger steps taken to improve the traffic situation even as several signals on some of the city's major junctions go blank after 9 pm, which makes the roads all the more chaotic. The city has changed over the years from a place that went to bed early to one that stays outdoors till late in the night. Vehicular traffic has also increased manifold and roads are busy even late at night, but the authorities maintain that keeping signals working only till 9 pm is good enough.
As citizens have for long been demanding working signals on major roads even late in the night, MiD DAY spoke to the officials concerned and their rationale behind keeping the lights switched off at night. PMC Additional City Engineer Shrinivas Bonala clarified that signals are not switched off but are on 'blinking mode' after 9 pm. "A PMC maintenance team is always assigned to the traffic police at major junctions. In case of any malfunction, the constable requisitions the team, which carries out repairs with a ladder-crane. The team can also make changes in signal timings if the polcie ask," he said.
A constable has to sign a document after maintenance work is carried out. After 9 pm, the signals usually switch over to blink mode. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Vishwas Pandhare said that the erstwhile DCP (Traffic) Manoj Patil had consciously timed each signal in the city and the arrangements seemed very sensible to him. "As of now we have not found the need to re-time any signal as the earlier arrangements are good enough. Even while re-timing, we need to consider the traffic situation in the area and then take the decision," he said.
Ritika Shrivastav (22), a banking executive from Vimannagar, said that signals like the ones at university chowk and Alka Talkies junction become chaotic after dark. "Pedestrians are also at stake since most hit-and-run incidents take place after dusk," she said. Anil Pawar (46), an engineer from Kothrud, said: "A few days ago, it rained heavily in my area and the situation was aggravated as the traffic lights stopped working."
(With inputs from Kavya Singh)