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Seniors flag road scare at night

Traffic terror discussed at security sessions by cops

By Kinsuk Basu in Calcutta

  • Published 3.08.19, 2:47 AM
  • Updated 3.08.19, 2:47 AM
Officers elaborated about Calcutta police’s drive to crack down on helmet-less bikers and cars with special raids at night.
Officers elaborated about Calcutta police’s drive to crack down on helmet-less bikers and cars with special raids at night. (The Telegraph file picture)

A number of senior citizens told police at sessions on security over the past two days that they were terrified by the city’s reckless night traffic.

Rogue motorists are not the focus of the sessions that the police have been organising across the city, prompted by recent murders of elderly people.

Senior citizens, however, seized the opportunity to express their fears about being hit on the road by speeding vehicles.

Officers elaborated about Calcutta police’s drive to crack down on helmet-less bikers and other errant motorists with raids at night. At some meetings, the officers even spelt out the number of bikers prosecuted in a week to underline their effort to curb rash driving.

At one such session in Phoolbagan on Thursday, a man spoke about how difficult it was to cross roads at night with two-wheelers vrooming past. Adding to the scare, he pointed out, the riders pay scant regard to traffic signals.

An elderly woman said: “I live with my husband and brother-in-law. All of us are senior citizens. The way cars and two wheelers drive down, it often becomes difficult to cross neighbourhood roads, leave alone big ones.”

Others joined in to complain how drivers flouted traffic rules almost with impunity. “At night cars tend to jump red lights when several others are waiting at a signal. Please see to this,” said another man. “The way these youngsters behave at the wheel is unthinkable.”

At a session in Behala, a resident expressed similar concern over crossing James Long Sarani at night.

In Kasba, an elderly couple complained that rampant honking by vehicles speeding down a lane off P Majumder Road had robbed their little grandson of sleep.

Cars and two-wheelers tend to travel through lanes and bylanes at night to save time and evade police checks on main roads.

On most occasions, bikers without helmets honk hard to move faster.

With bikers and cars finding routes to escape police drive at night, officers have decided to focus on lanes and bylanes. “Forces will be deployed in lanes off main arteries, such as Tollygunge Circular Road, the Rashbehari connector, Diamond Harbour Road, Deshapran Sashmal Road and Maniktalla Main Road,” an officer at Lalbazar said.

“The night raids have achieved results and we have decided to extend them to lanes.”

An officer who attended a session in Gairahat said: “Some elderly residents expressed happiness that these days they get to see more cops on the roads at night. We told them it was because of the night raids aimed at enforcing traffic rules.”

But what elderly residents across the city said suggested that a lot remained to be done. Officers admitted that a large number of motorists took advantage of the absence of cops at most intersections.

Officers at traffic guards across the city admitted that prosecution for reckless driving at night had not yet reached the desired level.

Some of those booked for flouting rules came up with various excuses. One such motorist said the wait at a traffic signal at night was “unacceptably long” because the lights functioned in the same cycle as during the day.