Bhubaneswar: Violation of any kind of laws slows down the growth of a country, said Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Police Commissioner Dr. Sudhansu Sarangi while addressing the students of SAI International School during an awareness programme on Traffic and Road Safety on the school premises on Friday.
Attending the event as the Chief Guest, Sarangi urged the young students to develop an attitude to respect the rules and laws of our country and added that laws are there to make our society a better place.
Guest of Honour, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Traffic DCP Sagarika Nath, highlighted the importance of safe driving and briefed the students on the basic traffic rules. Through a video presentation, she informed the students of the chaotic condition of road safety in India, which is mainly caused due to the negligence of the people.
She emphasized on being careful, to look around before opening the car door and use the opposite hand to open the door, so as to prevent accidents.
Advisor and Working President, Odisha Adarsha Vidyalaya Sangathan (OAVS) and Founder & Mentor SAI International Education Group Dr. Bijaya Kumar Sahoo said that absolute consciousness among individuals and family is required to maintain traffic and road safety.
Senior Principal Nilakantha Panigrahy said that traffic chaos can only be reduced if we all make a combined effort and obey traffic rules. On the occasion a brilliant skit on traffic awareness was presented by the artists of Street Theatre Action Group (STAG) in association with Sanjog.
On the occasion, both the Commissioner and Traffic DCP cleared many doubts of the audience relating to the theme of the event. Answering a question on has road encroachment become a concern for the people commuting on the road, Sarangi said it is the result of rapid urban growth.
“People from the villages are coming to the city in search of jobs as there are no such opportunities in their own villages. This is the question of the livelihood of poor people. We need to have some compassion for them. We have to address their needs, create job opportunities and relocate them so that it doesn’t create inconvenience to people,” he added.
Further clarifying the stance of police on this he said, “The State Government is looking into the issue. However, I want to say that a parallel road is soon coming up from Jaydev Vihar to here. But one thing I must stress is that poor people are not useless; you don’t know the feel of hunger and malnutrition; these people need compassion and sensitivity. Be compassionate to people.”
On being asked about the revised traffic violation charges and penalties that are very high for people, Sarangi questioned back, “If the penalty is high, why do you want to pay the penalty. Follow traffic rules, don’t do lane cutting, wear helmets and use seat belts, and follow all other rules. Fine will always be high. Unlike other countries, we have issued driving licence to people in an easy way, like distributing chocolates on a birthday and which is not right. Driving is a very difficult thing. My dream is to abolish driving by human beings. I am no longer confident human beings can become safe drivers.”
Further, answering can not the Commissionerate Police adopt the integrated e-challan system of Hyderabad, Sarangi said, “It’s a long way away. We are looking at technically keeping a record of each time one commits a traffic violation and take actions accordingly.”
In response to an allegation that in many cases it is seen that Traffic Police are making inappropriate penalties whether one violates the rules or not, Sarangi said, “We found lot of arguments taking place on this. Earlier we had a system of issuing challan to every violator on the street itself. Now we have cameras to keep a track and challan is sent to the violators. We also have Settlement Officers to deal with it.”
He suggested the audience to read a book called Factfulness by Hans Rosling as all live in a society where they get negative information. For instance, everyday 30 lakh aircraft fly and if one of those develops a snag, it is reported or highlighted. All need to find if that is the representative sample or not. If there is a crime in England, people condemn the criminal but in India people condemn the police harassing the criminal.
Answering what is his message to the youth who drive without any experience, Sarangi cited the recent armed attack in a market in Bhubaneswar where most of the miscreants were in the age group of 15 to 17 years. They were all involved in drugs, eve teasing etc.
“This is something which drew my attention to our education system, parental and family values which needs to be looked after. Now ‘khattis’ have become a place for drinking and drugs. Drugs should be an absolute ‘No’ – not even once. Hope your school has programmes to say how serious drugs are. Police and parents need to work together to find out ways to prevent those,” he said.
“There are two things – exploitation and irrelevance. Don’t say I don’t have enough, I cannot do etc. Get rid of the two. Keep yourself updated and become relevant to society, make use of opportunities. Don’t become redundant,” Sarangi added.
As some students pointed out that people continue to drink and drive which is against the Supreme Court order and Highways still have liquor shops, the Commissioner said that the police are taking harsh steps on this. However, many long route bus drivers and truck drivers say that they can’t drive if they don’t drink. He asserted that police are not being successful in implementing this law and Laws are there to make our society better.
On being questioned if the recent amendments in Indian Motor Vehicle Act have improved the safety of commuters on Indian Roads or has it created more panic in public minds rather than doing benefits, Sarangi said, “MVA came into act in 1988 and that time we had fixed penalty amount for violation. Now we have revised it. See we don’t need strong government or police; we need to create awareness among people, develop the moral force, so that people know the importance f traffic rule. We are your own police and your parents pay our salary.”
Some students cited the recent change in traffic rules and while stating that in a democracy, the welfare of people and society is the most important thing argued that is possessing laws and acts enough to curb the violation of traffic rules.
Answering it, DCP Nath said, “Laws are as worthy as you people. It is a matter of attitude whether you want to follow the rules or not. We are living in a precarious situation. We are questioning everything, but we are not abiding to the very law which we people have made for our own welfare.”
Further Sarangi said, “I talked about globalization and the availability of alcohol. We are not grandmothers of everybody. We should not close down on freedom in the name of law. Simultaneously people should need to understand their responsibility. Like most of you, people love junk foods knowing very well how harmful it is for health. Do you think we should close all the junk food shops? You need to understand its harmful effect and stop eating.”
On being questioned how he is planning to improve the Traffic Control System, Sarangi said, “There are three aspects of Traffic Management – Traffic engineering, where our roads have to be widened, we need parallel roads, remove encroachments and build flyovers and underpasses. Traffic Education – this is the type of event we have here today where we create awareness so that people voluntarily comply with the laws of our country. And Traffic enforcement – this is when people do not follow the law then we enforce it by prosecuting them. These three aspects are required for better management of traffic in our city and our country.”