On paper, Noida has everything to ensure that driving here is a smooth experience. Wide and well built roads, access to expressways, planned sectors and initiatives like installation of CCTV cameras on major roads. Yet, the reality is it is extremely tough to navigate with people driving on the wrong side, raging on the road, total disregard for traffic rules and a public transport system that it seems answers to no one.
Faced with either total unconcern or belligerence, traffic cops make only feeble attempts to impose discipline, if at all. So Mail Today decided to take a survey, what is behind this nightmare on Noida roads.
STAFF CRUNCH: According to the Noida Police, there are only 140 traffic cops along with 100 home guards deployed to manage traffic in Noida. However, out of these 240 cops, only 40 are allowed to challan violators. "There are 100 constables, 100 home guards, 36 head constables, three traffic sub-inspectors and 2 traffic inspectors in the department. The constables and home guards do not have the right to challan violators and their responsibility is only to manage traffic," an official in the Traffic department said.
Prabal Pratap Singh, SP (Traffic) told Mail Today. "Recently a letter has been written to the concerned authority to provide at least 500 traffic cops to manage the Noida traffic better," he said . As per Noida Traffic police, there are 315 crossings in Noida but only 240 men to keep a vigil on these major points. Even those cops who have been deployed do not have the facilities to track down violators. The traffic department in the city has only four 'Eco' cars.
Apart from these four cars there are around 25 motorbikes and the rest of the cops use their personal vehicles.
NUISANCE BY THE PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Apart from the missing traffic cops, the other major issue is the disregard for traffic rules, especially by bus, auto and e-rickshaw drivers who drive in a haphazard way and scrape through tight spaces to get ahead.
In a bid to ferry passengers, drivers also have a habit of parking their vehicles anywhere, with no care if it blocks others' paths. The ganging up of autos and e-rickshaws on road sides creates bottlenecks near Metro stations and malls. Vehicles are always parked illegally near popular junctions like Rajni Gandha chowk, Sector-18 Wave metro station, Sector 12-22, Labour chowk, to name a few. Most of the time it leads to traffic snarls specially during the peak hours.
Buses including school bus and travellers are also parked on the main roads adding to traffic woes.
WRONG SIDE DRIVING: The missing cops also encourage the motorists to opt for driving in the wrong direction to save time. When Mail Today visited Sector 76, 78, 79 the motorists were found using the wrong lanes to save time and distance with utter abandon. No traffic cop was deployed at the spot. Similar situation could be seen in most of the areas, including the U-turn near Indian Oil building, and areas near Sector-16, Sector-37 and Sector-18. Another official said: "The motorists in Noida do not have the basic consideration for rules and the few traffic cops on roads further encourage them to break them." In 2016, as many as 8,610 motorists were challaned for wrong side driving while 1061 have been prosecuted till March this year already.