Mangaluru: Adding More Cops Would Be Much Better Than Adding New Traffic Lights

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“If the traffic signal lights are in working condition it will reduce the work pressure on the constabulary by over 50%. There are 40% of the motorists who respect traffic rules irrespective of whether it is midnight or day. There is another 35% who obey rules only if they see a law enforcement official. The rest create problems and also are revenue earners for the department. Unless road improvement work is complete with footpaths, having signal lights will have no meaning”- Udaya Nayak- ACP (Traffic)

Mangaluru: A bunch of new traffic lights coming up in the city-Is it a joke or what? This city had already experienced the fate of dealing with the traffic lights in the past, where they didn’t serve the purpose and had to be removed. Now we see them being  again installed in various locations – whose idea is it? Has someone from the government department had come up with this idea so that he could make some money between him and the company who will be undertaking this project? Or is it just wasting tax payers money on a project which may not serve the desired purpose?-are some of the questions many may ask.

It is learnt that in order to ease some traffic congestion and other traffic related issues that the department had decided to install traffic signals at a few heavy traffic joints namely at Bendorewell Circle, Horticulture Junction, KSRTC Junction and Balmatta Junction, the city corporation will have it at Karavali Circle, PVS Circle, Hampankatta Circle, Ambedkar Circle (Jyothi circle), and Bunts Hostel Junction. Certain modifications will me made to the traffic lights that exist at Lalbagh, near MCC office. It is noted that these are the spots where most of the traffic snarls occur during rush/peak hours.


According to Nagaraj – Kadri Circle Inspector whom I met at one family function said, ” The newly installed traffic lights, at least four of them could function within a week after they are synchronised. We will also manually monitor these spots until the motorists are familiar with the new system, and also see that no one breaks the law. The new traffic signals are being put up at almost 100mts to 200mts distance. The co-operation of the motorists and pedestrians are very much solicited in order to materialize it successfully. Although the system has failed in the past, let’s hope for better results this time”.

Well said by Nagaraj, and also as commented by Udaya Nayak few months ago, but the problem with traffic signals is that motorists of Mangaluru are impatient who deliberately don’t want to follow the signal lights. We have seen in the past and also see presently at the Lalbagh junction, many motorists disobey the signals when the traffic cop posted at the junction is “out-of-sight”. So what good is it to have traffic lights when motorists don’t follow them. Also what good is it to have traffic lights and also and traffic cops posted near these lights – Sheer waste of tax payers money.

Only if strict laws are implemented where the traffic law breakers are fined heavily, then we can expect some good results in having traffic lights. But also, even if the traffic signal offenders are caught and fined, rich folks behind the wheels will get away easily either through influential or political power or through other corrupt means – only the lower class community will be harassed and forced to pay the fines by the cops. Just look at all the expensive vehicles owned by rich guys still moving on the streets with PY or KL licence plates- even though they have been caught by RTO or other traffic authorities many times, nothing much has happened- the vehicles still bear the PY or KL plates. Until and unless we have a corrupt free traffic department, the traffic system/laws will just be on books rather than strictly followed and enforced.

Presently even without traffic lights to monitor the easy flow of traffic, we are seeing traffic jam at various locations in the city, where the cops are struggling to control the traffic and pedestrian rush. Just imagine what would be the situation when only traffic lights will handle the flow of traffic- I bet there will be a huge traffic backed-up for quite a long distance. So wouldn’t be better to hire more cops on duty to manage the traffic, instead spending lakhs of money on traffic lights. This is what I feel, only for the reason that the new traffic system may fail as we have experienced it in the past. We had traffic lights in the city few years ago- some didn’t function well most of the time, power failure now and then had caused traffic problems, maintenance people took long time to fix the non-working traffic lights etc etc- which led to the complete death of signal lights. So are we looking forward for the same kind of situation this time too?

According to a report published in TOI few days ago it stated that Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) engineer Ravikumar had said that the synchronizing exercise should be complete within a week after getting traffic data. That they will study the traffic pattern and use special software for synchronization. In the absence of a centralized connectivity option, they will have to do it manually. The engineer had also requested the Mangalore City Traffic Police to get centralized connectivity option when M-Trac is implemented.

Also according to this BEL Engineer, that in Hyderabad, BEL’s first-of-its kind H-TRIMS (Hyderabad Traffic Integrated Management System) controls Vehicle Actuated Signals. All signals can be monitored and configured remotely from a Traffic Command Centre. The engineer had also said that BEL’s software controls 221 junctions remotely. So will Mangaluru follow in the footsteps of Hyderabad is something to be seen to be believed, until then we will have to keep our fingers crossed.

In conclusion, all I have to say again is – all that huge money that was spent on installing these new traffic lights would have been spent on hiring/adding more traffic cops, which would been more effective/successful in controlling the heavy traffic movement in Mangaluru. With this city having narrow roads and no proper pedestrian walk-ways, I bet the traffic lights system will be an utter flop. If the new traffic system works good for a month, then we are talking about utter success, if not it will be history repeated again? Until then, let’s hope for the best, after all it is our tax payers money that has been utilized for this project without our concern.

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