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Apathy of the civic agencies

A motorist can never be too safe on the Capital's roads no matter how safely he or she may drive. This is something a two-wheeler rider realised on National Highway 24 near the Yamuna bridge this past week.

With a woman riding pillion on his two-wheeler scooter, the man was seen riding very carefully on the extreme left side of the carriageway leading from Noida Mor crossing to Ring Road. Apparently the man was scared of the fast moving vehicles and so stuck to even the left of the bus lane to give every other vehicle a pass.

But despite taking every caution to avoid a mishap, the man who must have been driving his scooter at less than 40 km per hour soon realised that one can never be too careful on Delhi roads. A few hundred metres before the Yamuna bridge, he ran over a lump of tar which had been left carelessly behind by the civic agency that had built the road. The bump threw the scooterist off balance and hurled the woman on the pillion off the seat and on to the pavement.

Though due to the low speed at which the vehicle was going neither of the occupants suffered any serious injuries, the incident definitely showed up the apathy of the civic agencies and private contractors who make and maintain the city roads.

It also goes to show that while efforts are being made to trumpet Delhi as a world-class city, it still remains a city full of shortcomings that need to be addressed first.

- Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

Lesson learnt the hard way

The Delhi police have started adopting innovative ways to make a point. Instead of issuing the usual "challan" for any traffic violation, cops now seem to be on a mission to get motorists to mend their ways as a Delhiite learnt the hard way.

Talking on her mobile phone while driving, a woman driver was flagged down by a conscientious traffic cop who sternly told her to speak to his superior. "You will be fined Rs. 1,000, Madam,'' he said.

Terrified that she would have to cough up some money as she had been summoned by the big `sahib' and getting late for an appointment, she was surprised to realise that the `sahib' had no intentions of being bribed to forget the violation. He was just determined to ensure that she would not forget this encounter in a hurry.

Giving her the usual lecture on why it was unsafe to talk on the phone while driving, he asked her to "read" a message from the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) to motorists -- loudly. Illustrated with cartoons, the message warns all motorists to switch off their phones while driving or be willing to pay Rs. 1,000 as fine or six months in jail or in some cases both.

When the motorist told him that she had read it mentally, the traffic cop insisted that she read it aloud so that he and other people around him could hear it too. While a valuable lesson was well learnt, the memory of reading out an e-mail loudly in front of lots of people is also something that the woman would not forget in a hurry.

- Mandira Nayar

Eye check-up for road users

In an effort to facilitate hassle-free and accident-free traffic flow in the Capital, the Delhi Traffic Police in association with Bausch and Lomb has initiated a rather unique programme - "A drive to check the city driver's eye for vision defects" -- to examine the commercial vehicle drivers for vision defects.

The focus of the programme will be on drivers of Blueline buses as well as lorry and truck drivers from the city. Traffic police personnel would also undergo eye tests under the programme to be held at Teen Murti Traffic Lines in Willingdon Crescent on Tuesday.

Since eye experts and traffic police agree that good vision is essential for safe driving, the programme aims at creating awareness among drivers. According to the organisers, not many drivers are even aware that they may be suffering from vision defects and are endangering their lives as well as those of the passengers and others on the road. So this programme seeks to provide a chance for extensive road users to avail of the eye check-up facility being offered at the camp.

- Bindu Shajan Perappadan

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