I was a bit hesitant to write on this issue simply because numerous letters have been written on it but the tragedy is that the situation in Mysuru is going from bad to worse. However, Vijay Hemmige’s letter in SOM dated May 28 prompted me to add my bit.
His suggestion to revamp the Traffic Advisory Committee to counsel and educate the masses is appropriate. The important question is what role the civil society can play in the chaos which is developing under own eyes — simply watch the situation or indulge in taking some concrete steps.
We need to sit up and feel concerned about what is happening around us. The density of automobiles in Mysuru is developing at alarming rate and therefore some urgent measures need to be taken. Every day hundreds of new drivers are added on the road. Enforcement of rules is certainly the domain of Traffic Police but we must realise that we cannot put the entire blame on the shoulders of Police, for it is the people at large who pay the price for chaos and accidents on the road.
In this country there is another problem: when cops do their duty often they are confronted with ‘don’t you know who I am’?
The issue is what role the civil society can play in minimising the traffic problems that are emerging. In my opinion apart from playing watch dog role, giving talks in schools about safety norms etc., it is important to realise that ethics besides formal rules play an important role in maintaining order on the roads.
I will give two examples. One is the craze of overtaking and that too in city roads most of which are single lanes. The craze is so overpowering that often even autos attempt to overtake the four-wheelers and succeed with a snarl on the face of the drivers. Second when you are on public spaces yielding is polite, and is expression of a gentle behaviour. Here yielding even an inch of space is considered a sign of weakness — witness what is happening on weekends in central city.
Therefore, I consider that Driving Schools and elders at home should inculcate the importance of ethics to the youngsters while they are on road. Having said that I realise what we see on road in modern India is a reflection of what goes on in the society at large — might is right. If that be the case, where we go from here? Face chaos and curse.
– P.K. Misra, J.P.Nagar I Stage, 5.6.2018
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