Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Traffic Cops of Hyderabad and I

I was at the Secunderabad Club junction turning towards the Jubilee Bus Stand. The light was red. I looked for a sign that said 'No Right Turn'. None spotted. I could see a 'No Right Turn' facing the traffic to the right and assumed that since there was none facing me, there was no such rule (the traffic cops won't have different rules for two directions would they?). The light turned green. I saw that only the signal to go straight into the Club came on. The signal to turn right was silent. I figured that since there was no sign and perhaps the light is not working, I turned right.

A masked traffic cop came up and stopped me. He asked me to pull up by the side of the road. I asked him why? He said, there was no right turn. I told him that there was no board. If there is a board this side, there should be one there as well. I assumed the light was not working. He said I had to meet the CI. He said he would make my fine only Rs. 100. I asked him why I should pay anything at all since they did not put up a sign board and there were no clear instructions. He said that I better talk to the CI. As we walked closer to the CI the masked constable kept asking me if I wanted to pay the fine or do with something lesser. I told him that since he told me he'd fine me Rs. 100 I had no problem paying that. He insisted again - do you really want to pay the fine. Before we could speak further the CI appeared.

The CI asked me what was the matter. I told him. He looked at me angrily. 'Should we put sign boards everywhere for you?' he asked. I asked why he had signboards for the traffic on the right and why he did not have it for me. He was angrier at my questioning and said that there was no right turn. Everyone knew. License, he barked. I gave it to him. 'How much will you pay?' he asked. I said I had only two hundred bucks in my pocket. 'That could be a problem,' he said and looked angrily at me. I wondered why it would be a problem.

He peered into my wallet as I took out the 200 bucks and made out a challan. I took it. He suddenly changed his tone. 'Are you a member of the club?' he asked. I ignored his question. 'Are you going to the club?' he asked. I told him if I were going to the club I'd be going straight and not turning right. The other constable now appeared and he wanted to know where I stayed. Why?

When I turned the challan over I found that it had all the fines for various traffic violations printed nicely behind it. There were some interesting offences - not allowing to overtake a vehicle from right side, driving without light, dangerous parking, obstruction of driving (?). Stuff that happens all the time is this - misbehavior by taxi driver,  extra demand by auto, extra passengers in auto! For making wrong right turn (my crime) it was Rs. 50 subject to a maximum of Rs. 200. I had paid the maximum. But it is rather futile speaking sense or logic to the cops I realised. What can you say to someone who says if he should put up signboards all over for me when there is no signboard depicting no right turn.But then over the past two decades since I have been haunting these roads on my two wheelers and four wheelers I have had many similar run ins with the traffic cops - for not wearing a helmet, for triple riding, for not stopping at the signal. for not fastening the seat belt, for not following lane discipline, for not having the latest pollution certificate and so on and so forth.

It do wish that apart from doing their job so well, the traffic cops also paid some attention to their faults and mistakes and corrected them as well instead of placing all the blame on the traffic and fining whoever they can lay their hands upon. Sign boards, traffic lights that do not work properly, violators like over burdened autos, trucks, RTC buses that frequently break traffic lights, dividers, barricades placed thoughtlessly and many more such half hearted and rough shod jobs that endanger the traffic are to be first righted. If one is concerned about traffic violations such as drunken driving which endangers other traffic, not having proper guidance from the traffic police is also a thing that they must be primarily concerned about.


Rajendra said...

I think they don't want people to go crowd the Jubilee Bus Stand, and have found this innovative way to do so.

Harimohan said...

Pretty innovative and successful as well - commercially too!