Friday, January 22, 2021
Home Government and Policy Gadkari has shown a mirror to We-the-Dodgers of traffic rules

Gadkari has shown a mirror to We-the-Dodgers of traffic rules

Good governance is one thing; populism is another. One leaves us with standardized conduct out on the streets; the other leaves us with chaos and anarchy.

A typical day when I hit roads in my car in the Capital. The roads themselves have three types of variations. One is in the neighbourhood which teems with shops, cows, pedestrians, vehicles of all shapes and sizes. Here you could find our Virat Kohlis and Saina Nahiwals of future under the benign doting glances of their parents on the balcony.  Schools-buses come every afternoon in the weekdays; alien cars make a stop in front of floors which rent young lives that celebrate weekends with booze, music and dance.  Navigation requires yogic-contortions. Baring smiles on ladies who occupy a patch of the lane for their daily round of gossip is a daily act. Here are no traffic lights.

Out of my sector are the big, bad roads. Traffic here is always slow, a bane of our municipal corporations who hadn’t accounted for a future of burgeoning cars, lakhs of flats and millions of residents. Now there is a scramble to collect the daily waste, roads dug to wire our homes with competing WiFis, multiple gaps in dividers for vehicles to switch over from left to right and vice-versa.  Not that it matters to we the citizens: We simply opt for the wrong side of traffic flow, braving ugly glances, gesticulating hands and showers of the curse. How does it matter when a second of time and an ounce of fuel has been successfully saved?

All this before you hit your first traffic lights of the day. They usually take-offs half a week. You can’t blame them either: We the traffic are colour-blind to their signals. It’s indiscreet to press on accelerators when it’s Green; It’s too idealistic to stop on Reds unless and until shrivelled beggars and their acrobat sons and daughters fulfil your idea of charity or desperate men with fake editions of Sidney Sheldon and Irving Stone in your face reflect your educated background.

The next hour is a tribute to your ever-growing vocabulary on abuses. English swear-words are too polite. They are no match to our Punjabi and Hindi lexicons. The worst ones are reserved for the two-wheelers who swarm around your vehicle; darting from left and write, brushing your bumpers, navigating a gap you thought didn’t exist between two cars. Invariably you are forced to move out of right-most lane where the slowest of the vehicle is lording over the lane meant for the fastest. There are three-wheelers who couldn’t care less if their iron frames scratch your newly-painted car or goods carriers who move slower than a bicycle and make your swerve wildly to the hail of abuses in the background.

The irony is, all of these troubles could actually be your work to the others. You too jump traffic lights; you too speak on your mobile as you drive; you too drive against the traffic once in a while and it’s been ages since you submitted your car for a pollution check. You too subdue the traffic police with your rank and position if a folded 100-rupee note isn’t a good-enough grease to his palms.

So you too are part of the problem. Other traffic violators have turned you into one. Or it could be you who has turned others into traffic violators. Daily we hit the roads, daily we come back cursing the jungle that is out there on the roads. We are not wrong too when we curse the rogue mobike-rider who you nearly killed or one who ran a scratch across the length of your car. You also swear at the governance which leaves huge potholes and unmanned traffic lights out there. Submerged roads could test out the lungs of your car; or worse you could have an idea how a submarine floats under the water.

So, on the terrifying jungle out there which could maim or kill you and your dear ones, all the stakeholders- people, traffic planners and regulators—are guilty. Planners don’t ha ave vision for future; Enforcers are corrupt and we the people have turned monsters on the road. Like millions of gods we have on different aspects of our lives, we need to invent a traffic Ganesha too for our wellbeing.

Let’s now view the new whip which has angered most in this country. Most of us are either dipping deep into our pockets or crowding the Pollution Control centres on gas stations. We find the measures too draconian what if our registration, insurance and pollution papers are not in order. We aren’t counting the benefits which discipline would bring on our roads and provides umbrella against pelting hefty medical bills.

At the outset, there is every reason to applaud the transport minister Nitin Gadkari. He has been vocal on the Motor Vehicles Amendment bill for more than two years. He spent months in consultations with the states before finalizing and winning the ascent from the Parliament. He has shown a bloody mindedness ignoring populism and discomfiture within his own ranks.

Three states go for elections in next three months and are all headed by BJP—Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand. But for Haryana, the other two aren’t willing to face people’s wrath. Gujarat has brought down the fines by almost 90 per cent; Karnataka and Uttarakhand would implement the Act but reduce the fines to just a slap on the wrist. Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Tripura haven’t even implemented it.

Non-BJP states have only poured scorn on the new Motor Vehicles Act. Congress, which runs Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Punjab have put the new Act on hold. Rajasthan would implement it but the fines would be reduced to a minimum.

There is no second-guessing the “non-BJP” states of West Bengal, Kerala and Odisha. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is vocal that she wouldn’t implement the Act and burden her people. Kerala initially implemented the bill but now has put it on hold. The Odisha government of Naveen Patnaik has announced a three-month moratorium on the new Act. Interestingly, the Delhi government of Arvind Kejriwal is all in support of the Act.

It’s clear populism and politics would finally prevail over prudence. Our dharnas, noise and cribs matter to politicians. Asking us to wear seat belts, ride with helmets, follow zebra-crossing is too much of an ask. As it is to the tilted-heads on mobikes, using shoulders to attend calls on their mobile-phones.

Is this the entire truth? Doesn’t a couple with two small children, an old mobike and a few thousand rupees for a salary have a compulsion of their own on roads? Don’t we have faulty traffic signals? Don’t poor people buy a spluttering vehicle for a pittance only because it’s without papers? Don’t we have bus-stops right after the traffic-lights? Does the new Act take into account the last man on the road?

Good governance is one thing; populism is another. One leaves us with standardized conduct out on the streets; the other leaves us with chaos and anarchy. Good governance is never a zero-sum game: A few would always suffer in a society of extreme disparity. We have always longed for a government which governs for the good of the people. Now that we have it, we should strengthen and not weaken it.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Ashish Shuklahttp://ashishshukla.net/
Author of "How United States Shot Humanity", Senior Journalist, TV Presenter

 

Related Articles

Trending now

AIMIM’s West Bengal ally Islamic cleric Peerzada Abbas Siddiqui launches ‘secular’ party to contest West Bengal Assembly polls

Peerzada Abbas Siddiqui said that he met AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi who assured him full support in West Bengal

Protesting farmer unions reject union government’s proposal to suspend implementation of farm laws for 1-1.5 years

The decision was taken in a meeting of the protesting farmer unions today, saying that they only want the repeal of the laws.

Indian Express spreads fake news claiming there were internal objections to Adani Group winning all 6 airports: Read the facts

The civil aviation ministry said that same allegations made in the Indian Express report were already dismissed by Kerala High Court

5 persons dead at Serum Institute of India fire incident, efforts on to control damage

Reports have stated that the fire incident happened at an under construction building and vaccine facilities are safe.

Two suicide bombers detonate themselves in busy Baghdad market killing six, injuring dozens

As per reports, this was one of the rare suicide attacks in Central Baghdad.

Bernie Sanders and his mittens during Biden inauguration trigger a meme fest on social media. Details

The US Senator from Vermont was spotted at the venue wearing parka and a pair of very homely looking mittens at the high profile event.

Recently Popular

Arnab vs Navika: Arnab responds to Navika’s emotional monologue, says he carried his shoes with him

Recently, Navika Kumar said that when Arnab left Time Now, she had his shoes to fill. However, Arnab gives a befitting reply.

The hidden chats in the TRP Chargesheet that nobody is talking about, not even the police: India Today and BARC

In the TRP case chargesheet, pages of personal chats between Arnab Goswami and the ex-BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta have been added

‘Jack Ma is safe and sound’, is ‘laying low’ claims founder and chairman of equity firm Primavera Capital Group

Days after his unflattering opinion of the Chinese authorities, Alibaba founder Jack Ma went mysteriously missing

“Not forgetting this communication until death”: Chef turned filmmaker Vikas Khanna reveals how he was asked to pay for favourable reviews of his movie

Vikas Khanna stated that critics had asked him to pay 3 lacs for 3 star-rating and 4 lacks for 4 star-rating of his movie 'The Last Colour'

Pakistan ‘successfully’ test-fires missile injuring people, destroying houses in civil area, say Baloch leaders

Contrary to claims of Pakistani Army's successful tests of Shaheen-III Missile, several reports coming from Pakistan suggests that the test carried out by Pakistan was a massive failure as the missile landed in a civilian area in Balochistan destroying several houses and injuring civilians

Has China constructed a new village inside Arunachal Pradesh? Not quite: How NDTV misled with its ‘exclusive’ report

Report China building a village inside Arunachal Pradesh was bought out by NDTV yesterday - and it turned out to be fake news
- Advertisement -

 

“BJP will ban burqa, beard, skullcap, azan”, says AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal after forming alliance with Congress and Left to defeat ‘communal BJP’ in...

Badruddin Ajmal alleged that if BJP comes to power in Assam again, it will destroy mosques, and put several restrictions on Muslims

Fact Check: Did the US State Department remove Fact Sheet on Coronavirus and China after Biden administration took over

After the Biden administration took over, many netizens noted a fact sheet the US state department had published on Covid-19 is missing

AIMIM’s West Bengal ally Islamic cleric Peerzada Abbas Siddiqui launches ‘secular’ party to contest West Bengal Assembly polls

Peerzada Abbas Siddiqui said that he met AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi who assured him full support in West Bengal

Gujarat Forest Dept to take legal action against Christian Evangelist Paul Dhinakaran over unauthorised use of the department’s logo

Website of Paul Dhinakaran claims of collaborating with the Gujarat Forest Department, a claim junked by the latter

Protesting farmer unions reject union government’s proposal to suspend implementation of farm laws for 1-1.5 years

The decision was taken in a meeting of the protesting farmer unions today, saying that they only want the repeal of the laws.

Farm Laws 2020: The need of the hour is balanced liberalization, to move beyond rigid ideologies

A balanced liberalization, based on the triad of truth, efficiency and compassion, may find a better tomorrow

Indian Express spreads fake news claiming there were internal objections to Adani Group winning all 6 airports: Read the facts

The civil aviation ministry said that same allegations made in the Indian Express report were already dismissed by Kerala High Court

Uddhav stirs up Belagavi issue, Shiv Sena activists stopped by police from removing Karnataka flag. Details

Police Commissioner said that Shiv Sena leader Vijay Dhavane had plans of delivering a provocative speech at Belagavi.

5 persons dead at Serum Institute of India fire incident, efforts on to control damage

Reports have stated that the fire incident happened at an under construction building and vaccine facilities are safe.

Two suicide bombers detonate themselves in busy Baghdad market killing six, injuring dozens

As per reports, this was one of the rare suicide attacks in Central Baghdad.

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
496,912FollowersFollow
22,800SubscribersSubscribe