Some months ago, I applied and joined as a Traffic Observer in Gurgaon.
Before that when an RWA member had suggested that I go over and attend a meeting at the DCP’s office for I drive around Gurgaon and would have a view on traffic issues, I was alarmed at the idea! And yet, I was interested in checking out the inside of a Government building and connecting with officials. Gurgaon as a city shows little administration so I thought if DCPs were encouraging public participation in any initiative, we ought to let them know that we’re keen to see reforms. But to join as a Traffic Warden, as the role was called at that time, was too confusing an idea because I didn’t see myself calmly parking my vehicle some place and actively navigating traffic in chaotic situations. I dislike chaos!
Well, curiosity and reasonable civic sense made me pass along my application and I joined as a Traffic Observer (TO). I was presented an id card at a ceremony by none other than the CM of Haryana!
Now to share with everyone the general traffic scene in New Gurgaon:
Traffic lights came into Gurgaon for the first time only about two years ago but the locals still remain unused to them and public doesn’t quite understand their schedule for staying on/off – just when one starts taking them seriously, one finds them off on the next use. Traffic rules aren’t clear and some of us try to follow what we manage of Delhi traffic rules. However, it is common to find helmet-less heads on two-wheelers; women and men cruising leisurely with tilted heads and cell-phones glued to their ears; driver/companion without seat belts on; utter chaos and speeding vehicles at roundabouts; parking nightmares all over the city; serious issues with road engineering; and unnamed and badly constructed roads where we’re fortunate in finding any.
Ever since I’ve acquired a TO’s label though, I’ve noted that the administration has appointed DCP/Traffic for the first time, ushered in more traffic personnel in the city, more traffic lights have come up, the police control room number logs calls from TOs on problems reported; and DCP/Traffic wants to have suggestions (not just problems!) from public on managing traffic better.
So, here’s what Gurgaonites can do to help:
- regularly share traffic problems (while offering solutions) with TOs in their area, or
- join as a TO to play an active role (ask me for steps involved)
After a couple of ad hoc meetings, DCP/Traffic and TOs have settled on the format of a monthly meeting on the last Friday of every month before which we’re expected to submit issues/suggestions in writing.
For now, I’m the only woman TO among the current 86 members in the city and also one out of only four members from the New Gurgaon or East Gurgaon area. The rest are from Old or West Gurgaon. I’d like the areas of Sushant Lok, DLF phases I-V, South City represented at the monthly meetings so specific problems concerning them are brought up. And, I’d like the administration to know that we want the city traffic better managed.
So, see how you’d like to contribute…
Acroynms visitors might find baffling: RWA-Residents Welfare Association; DCP-Deputy Commissioner of Police; CM-Chief Minister; TO-Traffic Observer