By Shadan Muneer, Freelance Journalist
Training children on road safety is always a daunting task. While children may not be able to comprehend traffic signs and the associated symbols inside a room or on a chart due to their tender age, taking them to an open road and then teach traffic rules is too risky as they tend to get highly excited in certain situations and may lose control of the parents and teachers, leading to accidents. Not anymore. The Children’s Traffic Park at Nazarbad is an ideal place to teach children traffic discipline and make them understand their importance. It is a place where complicated things are made simple and easy to identify and assimilate.
This Weekend Star Supplement takes our readers along the park to trace its uniqueness and informative structures.
Where young minds are moulded
“If we want to reach real peace in the world we should start educating children,” said Mahatma Gandhi. Today’s children are tomorrow’s future and their safety — both at home and outdoors — is of utmost importance. Fatalities and road accidents are constant in any city and lack of road sense further complicates the matter.
With vehicular traffic increasing at an exponential rate year-on-year, educating children about road safety is imperative. Early age road safety programmes go a long way in sensitising children and ensuring that they become responsible drivers and pedestrians.
It was with this objective that the Children’s Traffic Park, on Mirza Road, opposite to the Police Commissioner’s Office in Nazarbad, was renovated and reopened with added features. This educational park aims to educate the children about the traffic rules and has laid down road safety measures in an innovative way to grab the attention of the children and make their learning process more interesting and fun.
The park is joint effort of the Mysuru District Administration, the Department of Women and Child Development, the Mysuru City Police and the District Legal Services Authority. On the 16th of July, the Park was re-inaugurated by Police Commissioner Dr. A. Subramanyeswara Rao and also launched a programme called “Awareness through Little Hearts” for school children.
Speaking about the idea behind the reopening and response to the Park, the City Top Cop said, “The idea was to invest in the children as most of the traffic violations are from the youngsters within the age group of 18 to 25. We are aiming to educate the children about the traffic rules early in life so that they follow them when they become adults as well as implant a sense of discipline.”
He also added: “The response to the Traffic Park by the school children since its reopening is really encouraging. About 3,000 to 4,000 school students have visited the Park so far. We hope that the road awareness given by the trained Police at the Park will help transform children for their better future.”
Determined on keeping up the good work alive, the Police Commissioner also spoke about the further developments and projects for the school children.
Designed to train young minds
“Apart from launching the programme called ‘Awareness through Little Hearts’ we also plan to come up with a new project called ‘The Young Mysureans.’ It will be a public service kind of a programme where about 500 students from 20 different schools will be enrolled to enforce and regulate traffic every fortnight for two hours. They will also be given a separate identity card, a pair of gloves and a cap for being part of the project,” he added.
The Children’s Traffic Park is spread out on a 4-acre land, developed in 1981 by F.K. Irani who owned Ideal Jawa Company. The Park, also called Yezdi Park, was built for the purpose of spreading awareness on road safety among children. It includes traffic signals, roads and signages. It also features miniature models of various buildings including post office, hospital, school, bank, railway station and a Police Station among others for training purpose. The children’s park is also equipped with facilities for the counselling of rescued children and education on children’s rights.
For several years, the unique children’s park was lying in a state of benign neglect even though children flocked to it on weekends. At night, it was used by people to sleep off in a drunken stupor. The credit of resurrecting the park goes to the then (2007) City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao who is now Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) KSRP.
As part of the ‘Awareness Through Little Hearts’ programme, various schools are accepting the invitation by the Traffic Police and are bringing in their students as educational visit to the Park.
Muniyappa, Police Inspector at Siddhartha Nagar Police Station says, “In the last two to three weeks around 4,000 school children have visited the Park and we have educated them regarding the traffic rules. The teachers, who accompany them, also gain knowledge and in-turn educate the parents who visit the school to drop their children if they are found driving without a helmet or a seatbelt.”
Other than the road safety guidelines, the children are taken around the Traffic Park and educated on Pedestrian Operated Signals, CCTV systems and Vehicle Management Systems by trained Policemen.
H.P. Srikanta Murthy, Head Constable, who educates the children in the Park quips “Today’s children are very sharp and grasp things quickly. They interact well too. This park will hopefully play a vital role in improving awareness on traffic safety among school children,” he added.
The new version of the Park is one of the many new initiatives taken by the Traffic Police to curb road accidents and inculcate discipline.
Speaking about the Park, DCP (Crime and Traffic) Dr. Vikram V. Amathe said “In addition to road safety, children are also briefed about traffic equipment and road furniture. The knowledge sessions carried out by Mysuru Traffic Police will apprise the children about the importance of traffic rules.”
He also said “The Park has an exclusive room where the children are shown images and clips relating to road safety, videos on how accidents occur and also the acts of good Samaritans. This virtual experience increases the ability to react to the traffic hazards thus creating knowledge about the potential dangers and solutions.”
The park also welcomes general public. One can take a stroll or walk through the peaceful and green surroundings as it is well maintained. So the next time you are planning fun learning for kids, head straight to the Traffic Park.
Aside… A place for love to bloom
The Children’s Traffic Park that is located at a stone’s throw away from the City Police Commissioner’s Office at Nazarbad is also a place for the public to take some rest under shady environs. The place is also frequented by youngsters who want to spend some quality time, allowing the Cupid to strike.
Ironically, the park is run and maintained by the city Police who are supposed to prevent this public display of affection !