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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Edition 18: Sureshchandra Raut

After joining the police force, Sureshkumar Raut, now Assistant Police Inspector at Ko0thrud Police Traffic Branch, spent most of the career in tackling criminals. He was chiefly posted in the crime branch and had a vast experience of dealing with hardcore criminals. That is why when he was promoted to take over his present posting, it was kind of a new challenge for him.

“As one who worked in the crime branch, I was accustomed to being rough and tough with the ruthless criminals. It makes no sense to be a serene person when you are faced with the men who have spent their lives in committing crimes. But taking care of traffic, you come across with the ‘offenders’ who are not criminals. They argue with you and you have be considerate with them. You have to be on your guard so as not to loose the temper, which might turn the situation to worse,” he said to City Blog. Having said that, Raut is confident that looking at his two year stint in the traffic department, “I have managed to do that balancig act,” according to him.

Sureshkumar Raut joined the police force in 1995 after passing Maharashtra Public Service Commission. He was inducted as Police Sub-Inspector and was posted at Mumbai during 1996 to 2001. He served there in the Crime Detection Branch. Then he was transferred to Pune where he served in Special Protection Branch for four years. He was in Deccan Police Station. Then came a posting in Local Crime Branch of Pune Rural Police. He had a memorable stint here under the leadership of Vishwad Nangre Patil, then superintendent of police (Pune Rural).

“I was one of the five-six persons who first reached to spot where the infamous rave party was going on in March 2007. The case was a milestone for us,” he said. A rave party of hundreds of youngsters, including 29 girls and 12 foreign nationals, was cut short by undercover policemen in a neat predawn swoop. 251 people were put behind bars in the action. Following year, he was promoted to Assistant Police Inspector and given the present posting.

Besides strictly following rules, the department is also trying to raise awareness about safe traffic. One of such attempt was to distribute free New Year greeting cards to vehicle owners with drawings by noted cartoonist Mangesh Tendulkar. These cards were distributed with an appeal to follow rules on the road.

The Mentality Change
At this juncture, he had to adjust a bit. “While working with criminals, your mentality undergoes a change. The mind starts to think like the criminals. However, while controlling the traffic, you come across people of all sorts. Skills have to be developed to convince them,” he said. However, Raut has seen a change in traffic pattern in Pune to better. “There is an increased sense of law and responsibility. This is thanks to strict implementation by traffic police of various rules like fastening seat belts, stopping at zebra strips etc.

“The credit of this change goes to our deputy police commissioner, Manoj Patil. He has given us full support. That is why each policeman manning the traffic duty knows that if he is right, then he is nothing to fear. Earlier, people took traffic police granted but now, they are aware that we can go by the law book”

Problem With Educated
Area under Raut’s jurisdiction stretches from Nal Stop to Vandevi, Dahanukar Colony, Chandani Chwk, Mhatre Bridge and Rajaram Bridge. Most of the educated people come from this area. It is also one of the toughest areas since it is Asia’s fastest developed area.

“The people who want to show off their educated background create a lot of nuisance. When somebody is caught violating a rule, the person immediately starts arguing about the lack of boards, signs etc. Some people point to fading zebra strips on the road and ask why they are not prominent. They should understand that first they have to follow the rules and then only they should point fingers towards inadequate boards, signs etc.,” said Raut.

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