Monday, August 09, 2010
Of stoplines, traffic challans and policemen
Was challanned by a traffic cop the other day for crossing the stop line near the new Secretariat. It was my fault as I was riding along with a MTC bus and I did not see the lights.
What impressed me was the politeness and the respectful tone the traffic constable used to talk to me and while I thought it may be an aberration the sergeant was also of the same type. While I ranted about the MTC drivers going scot free showed me a challan similar to mine for the bus driver that was being dispatched to the MTC head office for salary recovery. I learnt a couple of things that day – police men are not so bad despite being painted black so often, MTC drivers do get penalized for all their violations.
I could not resist asking him why the police were not strict with enforcement; he told me a few things:
- Policemen are friends of the public and they would still like to be friends and not stick wielders
- The onus of policing is on the public and self discipline is a duty, passing the buck to the woefully understaffed and overworked police men is not an excuse
- Rules were meant not to make challans but to save lives and if people do not care for their own lives, there will never be enough policemen for us
- Lastly he said that if a person did not have money to pay he would have been let off with a warning and they are not out there to make money.
I came off with a good feeling and though I know that though there are worms, in the basket of apples, there is still a basket of apples. Policemen are human and they endure great hardships for us, imagine standing on Mount road or Panagal park and managing the chaotic traffic with so may rule breakers amid the dust, smoke, grime rain or shine and to think the pittance they get paid for it.
A Salute to the Traffic Police of Chennai.