A photo combo showing CCTV cameras installed at different roads of Kathmandu. (File photo/Khabarhub)
KATHMANDU: The streets of Kathmandu which had been without any traffic lights for a few years have got a new lease of life with installation of new traffic lights in major intersections in the valley. Traffic lights, the devices to tame the ruthless and reckless drivers in the valley, have been most sought traffic control mechanisms in the valley.
The traffic police have been devising some sorts of campaigns as an attempt to ease movement in ‘ultra-chaotic’ city, especially in terms of road traffic.
Lately, the police seem committed not to drop few of the campaigns it deems have been helpful in minimizing accidents: lane discipline, drinking and driving, and unauthorized parking.
Conceding lane discipline violence responsible for most of the accidents like collision, damage and death of pedestrian etc. in the valley, Metropolitan Traffic Police Division initiated ‘Lane Discipline Campaign’ on October 12, 2014. Consequently, a number of traffic police were deployed in various intersections who started action against the rule violators.
Hundreds of thousand drivers have been brought to record for violation of lane discipline.
With the placards and warnings about the fine up to 10,000 rupees for lane discipline violation, the streets look better than before. The statistics show that nearly 200 drivers get punished for such violations every day.
The statistics at the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division show that the division has taken action against more than 329 thousand drivers since it started the campaign.
Interestingly enough, males exceed females in violating the rules! When 313 thousand of the people punished for the breach of lane discipline are males only 16 thousand are females. Bhadrakali-Singh Durbar area is the red zone where most of the violation incidents occur.
The campaign that started in 2014 has generated Rs 316 thousands in revenue for the government.
Disregard the traffic and get the fine slip at your door!
According to SSP Bhim Dhungana, the Chief of Metropolitan Traffic Police, updating itself as per the available technology, the traffic police have arranged for sending the fine-slip to the violators provided they disregard the rules thinking none is watching them.
“Unlike before when the violators could skip punishment when the traffic police were out of sight, we have upgraded ourselves and made the CCTV surveillance more effective,” SSP Dhakal said to Khabarhub, “With the help of CCTV footage, we take action against those who don’t comply with lane disciplines.”
He says that nearly 1700 CCTV cameras in the valley help police identify the rule-breakers and also monitor the activities of the drivers.
The CCTV Control Room at the Metropolitan Police Office Ranipokhari supervises when and where the traffic rules are violated.
“ We zoom the vehicles that break the rules and look at their number plate, later in coordination with the department of transportation we manage to get their contact number,” SSP Dhakal told while speaking to Khabarhub, “Then, we call the drivers to Bagghikhana where they attend two-hour-long orientation class, pay the fine and return.”
Rule or life dilemma, drivers say
A week before, Sabin Shahi was going to Anamnagar from Bhadrakali. While his bike was at a normal speed, a public bus was speeding after him.
“The bus behind me was speeding,” Shahi said to Khabarhub, “ in that situation what could I do, should I have sacrificed my life for the rule?” He narrated how he had to break the lane discipline to save his life.
He opines that traffic police also should take action considering the humanitarian aspect of the issue.
“Life is supremely valuable, I happened to violate the rule to save my life,” Shahi who had been to Baggikhana to attend sensitizing class meant for rule-breakers expressed his dissatisfaction saying, “Where is the driver who sped up at the time? Shouldn’t he be subject to the fine?”
Many people like him are attending the classes meant for the lane discipline violators. Like Shahi, other people who had been to Bagghi khana told us that they were compelled to attend the class as their license was ceased by the traffic police.
Traffic Police’s latest attempt to curb ‘ultra-chaotic’ traffic problem has started showing the effect as nearly 2,500 violators are recorded in the discipline book every day.
However, other essential campaigns like installing traffic lights in all places, making drivers and pedestrians aware of the traffic rules, arranging for the alternative routes for busy hours etc. should go side by side as well.