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Tackling traffic travails

Reducing road accidents and instilling traffic sense among the public are the main priorities for the DCP (Traffic) K. Srinivas Reddy. He plans to have sops for his cops to motivate them further.


ONE FOR THE ROAD: DCP K. Srinivas Reddy. - Photo: P.V. Sivakumar

DETERMINED BUT self-effacing, K. Srinivas Reddy means serious business. The man of steel, recently promoted as the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), replacing M.V. Dinkar Prasad, has a lot of grandiose plans up-his-sleeves to revamp the traffic problems that have been plaguing the twin cities since long.

He has already begun implementing some of his tactics, which he claims, has brought down the accident rate considerably. Swearing to give traffic violators a run, he promises a lot of sops for his own cops.

A 1994 cadre from the Indian Police Service (IPS), he began his career as the Additional Superintendent of Police (Addl. SP) of Warangal, rose to be the Officer on Special Duty (O.S.D) of Medak district and later became Superintendent of Police (Nellore district) until his recent posting as DCP Traffic. Following are the excerpts from an interview with K. Srinivas Reddy:

What are the causes for the alarming rise in the number of accident cases in the twin cities?

Rampant violations of traffic rules by vehicle owners and laxity shown by the enforcement agencies need be blamed for the high rate of accidents occurring in the twin cities. But then, after I assumed charge, I have vowed to bring down the accident rate and I have been successful to a certain extent.

According to a recent survey, the number of accident cases in the calendar year 2001 was about 2618. Although the figure is not very alarming for a city like Hyderabad, having a population of over 60 lakhs, I hope to contain it by about 30-40 percent by the year-end.

What is being done to bring down the number of accident cases?

Firstly, I will ensure that there is strict enforcement of traffic rules by the traffic personnel posted at any point. Any violations, from a minor one of jumping a signal to a serious one, as not possessing valid documents, will call for penalisation by the violator.

I am planning to install surveillance cameras at vantage points all over the city so that if traffic cops are not enforcing the traffic regulations, they can be brought to book. I also have plans to introduce welfare schemes for my personnel so that they remain motivated towards their duty.

How do you plan to motivate the traffic police?

I will introduce the appraisal system for them. There will be quarterly appraisals, which shall be judiciously conducted to assess the performance and efficiency of a cop. The traffic region around the city will be classified into three broad categories, viz., A class - where there is heavy rush of vehicles during peak hours, B class - where traffic movement is moderate and C class - where movement of vehicles is comparatively leaner. Based on the positions also, the performance of the personnel will be monitored, as in overheads, like, compounded fee collected, booking of cases, etc.

It has been over two months since you have assumed charge. Which are the immediate areas where you have started focussing your attention?

In the larger interest of the public, I have already begun my work in right earnestness by marking certain roads as one-way to avoid heavy rush. My cops have been asked to be very stern with the violators. All these reforms, I am told, has created a lot of disenchantment amongst a certain section of the public, which in turn, might make me an unpopular DCP. But I don't mind. The reforms have been carefully chalked out after a lot of debates and discussions with experts in the larger interest of the people. I would invite people's co-operation to make my plans a success.

There is a general feeling that your reforms are causing a lot of inconvenience to pedestrians, especially in Secunderabad station area. Would you like to express your views on it?

The feedback that I have got is that pedestrians are very happy about the new changes. I do understand that some bit of inconvenience is caused due to the lack of footpaths in the area. There are plans to construct new footpaths and beautify the existing ones. The MCH has already been directed to take up the beautification programmes on footpaths.

Making the area, a one-way traffic one, has actually helped a lot in decongesting the traffic snarls that were a regular feature previously. Moreover, we have been able to eliminate the encroachers of the road as well. Smaller roads have been put to use and pedestrians are actually saving five to seven minute's on their journey.

What about those pedestrians coming from Bhoiguda-Chilakalguda side who have to take the

Oliphant bridge. The condition of the bridge during rains is horrible, apart from the fact that the dingy bridge remains dark all throughout?

My only regret stems from the fact that we still have not done anything to redress this particular problem. Parleys are on with experts and we are hopeful of a pleasant solution to reduce the inconvenience caused to public due the Oliphant bridge, soon.

What about the dividers? It is seen that many dividers are being either relocated or destroyed in the city.

This is being done primarily to ease out the traffic snarls that used to be a major problem in the areas.

For example, the divider near Lifestyle was really unnecessary. So, I have ordered to dismantle the stretch for convenience of commuters. Previously, there used to be a lot of congestion due to the traffic coming from Kundan Bagh area from underneath the flyover and the vehicles over the Begumpet flyover meeting at the point where the divider was. Now that the divider has been dismantled, snarls have been relatively eased out.

But regarding the Panjagutta divider that is in the process of getting relocated, I am disappointed because the Road and Buildings department of P.W.D did it in their own without any consultation with the traffic department. Now, the only remedy, which remains, is to demolish the existing structures beside the road and widen it for the convenience of the commuters.

It is seen that a lot of people riding two-wheelers wilfully do not put on headgears. Are you doing anything in this regard?

Well, wearing of helmets is not a compulsion in Andhra Pradesh. But in the interest of safety, one should put on a helmet by habit as it will help reduce injuries and fatalities. I am planning to take up the matter seriously with higher officials and make helmets mandatory for the rider and the pillion-rider.

What about the increasing number of drunken driving cases?

The state traffic department had some plans to introduce breathalysers and other such testing devices to penalise people who indulge in drunken-driving.

I will take up the issue and am hopeful that something positive happens in this regard. It is true that more technology has to be brought in for better management of on-road traffic conditions.

We are in the process of building up a modernisation fund for the purpose.

It is often seen that pedestrians are not given due respect by vehicle owners while they cross roads. Have you made any efforts in understanding their woes?

It is very unfortunate indeed. It is not that vehicle owners do not have enough traffic sense here in Hyderabad. It is just that they are callous and insensitive. But I plan to mount massive awareness campaigns for the public to educate them in traffic rules and instil fellow feeling for the pedestrians.

Plans to construct sub-ways for the convenience of the pedestrian are also in the pipeline.

What about the existing sub-ways in the RTC crossroads and Koti area? These have just become a white elephant for the government to run.

I agree. Because of the ill design, both the sub-ways have been closed down for pedestrians. But we are working on them to make them optimally useful for the public and they should be operational shortly.

SOUVIK CHOUDHURY

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