Thursday, February 23, 2006

RISE-ing to the aid of traffic police

RISE-ing to the aid of traffic police
Deccan Herald

In a city where traffic jams are reaching the doorstep at residential localities, leaving residents stoically suffering the chaos, the work of this residential association will come as some inspiration.

The Residents Initiative for Safe Environment (RISE) at HAL III Stage, has set a new model for public-private partnership.

Byregowda (25), in his establishment khakis, controls traffic at the high density junction of 80 Feet Road, 11th Main and 4th Main, during peak hours. Byregowda, a security guard, was sponsored by RISE for a six-week training in traffic management by the Bangalore Traffic Police. With a red electronic baton in hand, he guides traffic from 8.30 am to 11.30 am in the mornings and 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm in the evenings, on weekdays.

The association is planning to add four more trained personnel for their ward. It all began when residents, mostly senior citizens, found themselves unable to cross roads during rush hour traffic. “We wrote a letter to the Traffic Police Department but the response was disheartening. The traffic officials explained they were facing manpower shortage themselves. However, they agreed to train our volunteers in traffic management,” revealed R K Mahadev, Campaign Co-ordinator, RISE.

According to a survey conducted by RISE in November, 2004, covering BSNL/Jeevan Bhima Nagar, through SBI/12th Main junction to Thippasandra Main Road, nearly 2,000 vehicles cross these roads every hour. Out of these, 200 cut lanes and 190 violate the one-way on Thippasandra Main Road.

However, their initiative is not without challenges. Paying a monthly salary of Rs 3,000 to the trained guard is becoming a burden, says N S Mani, a member of the 14-member core group of RISE. “The association gets a monthly fee of Rs 100 from each of its 200 members, which is barely sufficient to pay our four security guards and the traffic controller”, Mr Mani explains. The association’s ambitious plans of erecting an amber caution light and a pelican light for pedestrians is yet to materialise.

“We require Rs 1.8 lakh for purchasing the equipment. We wrote to 18 companies asking for sponsorship, but only I-Flex Technologies responded,” reveals Mr Mahadev.

However, it is the laurels that keep them going. The first page of the recently-released souvenir has Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic-East) M A Saleem writing, “I appreciate the efforts of RISE in traffic management, this will go a long way in building vital police-public relationship.”

For details, contact RISE on telephone number 2528 1445.


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