Pune: Managing traffic is an integral part of police work. The recent pile-up and mishaps at Navale bridge have raised concerns about the accident-prone spot. Even though it is a part of a highway, the stretch falls in the jurisdiction of Pune city police. Along with suggestions sent to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Rahul Shrirame, deputy commissioner of police for traffic, Pune, talks about Navale bridge and other traffic-related issues. Following are the excerpts from the interview
Regarding the Navale bridge situation, what is your takeaway, suggestions and way forward?
After the last pile-up accident, we have carried out some changes made. I visited the spot with the planning police inspector and conducted a survey. We have sent 23 suggestions to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). A few things were implemented immediately — “go slow” road sign boards have been installed, rumblers are in installation process, reflective boards for night have been installed. Among the other suggestions was that heavy vehicles should not use the third lane on the slope which also has a turn. So, when the vehicles travel down the slope, they gain speed and the chances of losing control increases. We have suggested a speed limit of 60 kmph, installation of blinkers, maintaining the first lane for heavy vehicles from Katraj to Warje river bridge, and installing speed limit sign before the bend near Marathi Bana hotel. It has to be a joint effort because we cannot risk lives and keep passing on the responsibility.
Why are diversions made to city roads due to the metro work?
Yes, changes have been made and it will take around 3-4 days to set in before people realise the change. Especially for metro work, we have a set of 13 terms that are to be followed. Some of those terms are that a traffic warden is to be appointed by the contractor, before work begins the traffic officials of the area need to be informed, pedestrians should not be inconvenienced, contractor’s contact information should be on display at the site, raw material should spill on the functional roads, iron barricades should be used wherever necessary, lights should be installed for night-time visibility, responsibility of preventing accidents is on the contractor. After all these, if it is deemed fit, our divisional inspectors conduct a field visit and recommend diversions. For that application has to be made online.
There have been cases of assault of traffic police for enforcing traffic rules. Any initiatives taken to tackle it?
We have 100 body cameras and we can get up to 38 more. We have told our officials to be polite towards vehicle users regardless of their behaviour. It is a matter of an individual’s mentality. Along with good words and respectable language, we advise them to use their mobile phone cameras to record everything in the absence of body cameras when the situation gets out of hand.
How many CCTV cameras in the city meant for traffic are functional?
There are a total of 1,341 cameras of which 1,189 are functional, 119 are not-functional, and 33 are in the process of shifting.
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