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Friday, April 16, 2010

Edition 15- Bringing The Traffic On Road Manoj Patil

Even though the city of Pune is notorious for its chaotic and unruly traffic scene, there has been a marked improvement in the scenario since about an year. The net result of the instilled discipline could be actually seen when the crime statistics told us that the number of accidents in the city have come down. Without doubt, the reason behind this improvement was efforts taken by the traffic police department. Especially the man heading the department has received kudos from various quarters, not least the national award given the traff.i.cop scheme launched by the police. Maheh G. Patil, deputy commissioner of police is known for his dynamism, both in decision taking as well as implementing them.. Before coming to Pune in June 2008, he was a upper Police Superitendent in Solapur. He is from State Police Service. He began his stint by first focusing on signal jumping. The drivers stopping their vehicles on zebra crossings at traffic signals were taken to task by this campaign. The pictures of such offenders were taken.Many people, including some buses of publice transport PMPML were finedfor this offence. Then came making the fastening of seat belts mandatory even in the city limits.The four wheeler drivers who were till now used to drive without much care were upset and there were subdued voices of the protest. However, the department went ahead with its plan and today no four-wheeler driver in the city dares to drive without fastening the belt. The department assured action against state transport (ST) buses using Tilak road, which is out of bounds for heavy vehicles. DCP Patil held talks with the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC). Then came action against the errant auto rickshaw drivers, a sore thumb for the city. The drivers who refused to take passengers to nearby destination, those without proper documents were fined and given strict warnings. In the last three months, more than 350 drivers saw their licenses being suspended. Under Patil’s guidance, the Pune police started traff.i.cop scheme meant to bring some discpline in the traffic. Trafficop’, the hi-tech mobile governance system, bagged the national award for outstanding TBI (technology business incubator) and ISBA (Indian STEPs and business incubators association) instituted by the department of science and technology, government of India. After seeing the success of the scheme, regional transport authority has decided to implement it in thier own jurisdiction. The scheme in the RTO is in force on experminental basis from March 5 to April 5. Home ministry of the Maharashtra department has also given an extension of one month to the scheme. The scheme was originally for only three months. In these three months, more than one lakh 96 thousand offenders have been caught through this scheme. However, Patil does not receive only accolades. He braved a barrage of opposition when the decision to make Jangli Maharaj Road and Fergusson College Road one-way was taken. The proposed one-way traffic on these roads evoked sharp reactions from residents and shopkeepers in the area. The traffic branch of the Pune police decided to implement the one-way from March 5. According to the police, the decision was taken in a bid to decongest the traffic on these roads. After a month of experiment, the decision was made permanent. People and even PMPML had reservations about the plan. But the move paid off. According to DCP Patil, “Imposing fine on the offender is necessary to instill some sort of discipline in the drivers. With some of measures taken by us, a sort of methodical approach has come in the drivers. The response to our campaigns is also encouraging.”

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