Cracking down on traffic violators Include the VIPs too

Majority of the people of Manipur have little respect for traffic rules. This was Chief Minister N Biren Singh on the floor of the Assembly on February 13 and no one will argue this observation. However one may also add another observation here and that is, “Majority of the people who come under the VIP tag, have no respect at all for traffic rules.” The Chief Minister’s concern is noted and it is only right that stringent measures be taken up to rein in all those who give two hoots about respecting the rights of others on the road and respecting the rights of others means obeying traffic rules. Just how blatantly traffic rules and norms are violated can be seen in the manner in which motorists just do not have the sense to understand why zebra crossings have been put up and why all need to stop before the zebra crossing when signalled by the traffic cop on duty to do so. It is not so much the number of vehicle or even the breadth of the road that is responsible for the traffic chaos that one sees daily on all the major roads of Imphal, but the refusal of the motorists to respect traffic rules and the rights of others on the road. As stated many times in this column, zebra crossings just do not have any meaning and one just has to take a look at any of the major traffic points to understand the point that is sought to be made here. The signal to stop is to let vehicles on the other side of the road pass by but here it means that the vehicles asked to stop will inch forward bit by bit, crossing the zebra crossing and blocking the free flow of vehicles coming from the other side. Such a situation means that impeding the free flow of vehicles from the other side slows down movement of the vehicles coming from the other side and this means that the vehicles told to halt will also have to wait longer for the green signal to move !
Over taking from the left, refusal to heed the signal of other vehicles, unnecessarily blowing horns, double parking, all go together to script the confusion on the roads of Imphal. Add to this the arrival of VIPs along with their security escorts, who come under the impression that traffic rules are for the lesser mortals. Look at the manner in which the people are whistled at to move away and give the right of way to the VIP with their sirens blazing across the road. The point is, if the Government is really intent on pulling up all those who violate traffic rules and refuse to abide by the rules and regulations laid down while driving or moving around the roads of Imphal, let the VIPs set an example. Let them also respect traffic rules and acknowledge that in as much as they have the right to move around, the people do too. It is all about respecting the rule of law and respecting the space of others. And when one talks about VIPs, the Government should know better as there are different breeds of VIPs, those elected, those occupying high positions in the official corridors, those who contested the election and lost but who have been given plum political appointments and the security personnel who think they can shout their way through the dense traffic. The people too need to shed their selfish mindset and come to the realisation that the traffic chaos in Imphal can be addressed only when they develop some civic sense.

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