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Road safety norms thrown to the winds in Mangalore

By M. Raghuram

MANGALORE, JAN. 7. As the nation observes Road Safety Week, it makes no difference in Mangalore as chaos reigns on the city roads.

The traffic in the city is becoming more chaotic by the day. City buses break traffic rules with immunity by not stopping at the red signal and parking the vehicles on zebra crossings making it difficult for pedestrians to cross the road. The ban on the use of shrill horns is also not implemented effectively.

Added to these woes, there are no signs indicating the speed limit on any road in Mangalore.

The traffic police face severe manpower shortage. The strength of the traffic police remains the same as it was in 1986, while the number of vehicles has increased manifold.

In 2001, the district administration recommended to the Regional Transport Authority to train drivers of city buses in safe driving habits. The recommendations called for a ban on shrill horns and lowering the height of the footboards on buses to facilitate old people, women and children to board and alight from the buses easily.

It had directed the buses not to play music in the vehicles and called upon conductors to be polite to passengers. But none of the recommendations have been enforced strictly.

According to the Road Users Association spokesperson, Hanumanth Kamath, the need for true road safety has to be promoted by the people themselves by complaining to police about erring drivers.

There are more than 8,500 autorickshaws plying in Mangalore city, its suburbs and satellite towns. Some of them allegedly use adulterated fuel resulting in heavy pollution. Though the adulteration of petrol with kerosene was banned some years ago, it continues unabated. Some motorists complain of burning sensation in their eyes and the lungs when they inhale emission from autorickshaws.

The Assistant Regional Transport Officer, Vijayakumar, says that autorickshaws using adulterated fuel cannot clear the emission test. Though there have been no reports of autorickshaws using adulterated fuel so far, one cannot say that autorickshaws are not using adulterated fuel, he says.

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