Jan 9, 2010

What do Delhi’s traffic policemen do?

They stop traffic to extract bribes, to allow rule breakers to escape the rules and thus create more rule breakers, which in turn results in more traffic stoppage by the same traffic policemen.

Not all of them of course, but yeah… you know…

But every once in a while I see a dedicated tpman (traffic policeman) who is actually directing traffic with the sole intention of making the traffic flow smoothly and at the fastest rate possible.

Sadly most tpmen are directing their anger and displaying their power while directing traffic. They will let traffic from one side go on and on and on and on till the road chokes and the traffic can’t move, and then open up the perpendicular side so that nothing moves in any direction for a few minutes, and when the backlog finally clears than the traffic from the perpendicular direction begins to move, and the whole process is repeated until the megalomaniacal ego of the tpman has abated. In this unique and highly frustrating way they create amazing amounts of delays at traffic lights.

The most awesome displays of such kinds happen at roundabouts which move in perfect harmony as long as they aren’t there and as soon as they start operating it, they get impossibly choked and delayed.

But I don’t blame the tpman, he is only the visible tip of an iceberg that is rotten from within. I don’t even want to delve into what kind of salaries they must be getting. I am absolutely sure that it wouldn’t be enough to sustain a respectable life, else most of them would not be fishing for and accepting small bribes.

I think what we need is traffic lights that have much more power than the passive changing of lights. At the red light the side from which traffic has to stop should have a net not unlike a tennis court’s net, but of course much much stronger, that will slowly rise up from the road, and stop any car from moving ahead. A car that is over the net gets a terrible alarm going, that shames the driver and gets others laughing at him, and also gets him/her a traffic ticket from the nearest tpman (who does his duty dilligently and does not take a bribe).

Delhi’s unruly traffic needs a heavy hand, er… a heavy net to control it. Someone in the traffic control department please take note and implement it as a pilot project somewhere.

All hail the great tpmen, Delhi will come to a halt, umm… move smoothly without them.

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