January 14th, 2009Reckless & careless

My friend entered office totally shaken. Just 10 minutes back she witnessed an accident involving a young student and a bus. First reaction – ‘blame the bus’! But the fault was with the girl.

The girl on a two wheeler cut across the road diagonally in the path of the bus and was hit by it but not run over. Then how did she die?

She was wearing a helmet! Then how did she die?

She was not wearing the strap of the helmet. The bus hit her and she fell down. Her head hit the road as the helmet flew off in the impact of the bus.

Crossing the road recklessly and not strapping the helmet properly has resulted in loss of a young life on an auspicious day(Pongal/Shankaranthi).

My friend witnessed something else and was appreciative. The traffic policeman nearby borrowed a cloth from one of the passengers and covered the girl as her blouse was torn in the accident.

But my reaction was it is the traffic policeman’s fault that she died. If only the traffic police had regularly implemented the road rules and booked any offender this wouldn’t have happened. Neither reckless crossing nor helmet for rule sake would have happened. The girl would be alive now.

I feel I am cynical, or am I?

November 30th, 2008Blame game

Most of our RWH structures are namesake structures which will not hold water. Set up to fool the government knowing well that there will not be any inspection and even if there is one it is easy to get approval otherwise.
We find it a difficult task to segregate wastes into organic and non-organic as the corporation wanted us to do and here too the short comings are not followed up on.
It is easy for us to dispose our waste including plastic covers into storm water drains as rains in Chennai are a rare occurrence!
Come a little rain…our compound floods due to namesake RWH structure…we direct the RWH tubes towards the street…street floods…we break the storm water drain cover to direct the floods…they are blocked by our own waste thrown earlier…street floods…EB cuts off electricity…our movement, day to day activities curtailed…cremations postponed…sick left to their fate…
Let us see the positives…we and our children got genuine excuse to avoid office/school…we got more time to interact as there was no TV…not many vehicles on road so less pollution…

November 24th, 2008Chennai Life Once again

I went on air through Chennai Life FM once again(!) on our favourite topic ‘killer roads of chennai’. Nowadays every one seem to be taking great interest in our roads;if only people who can do really some thing also do so!

Actually I was called on phone to answer a couple of questions on traffic in chennai a few months back which featured Shri Traffic Ramasamy, a news paper reporter and Shri Sunil Kumar, Traffic commissioner. Listening to his interview in that programme spurred me on to have a page devoted to accidents in chennai in my web page. A person with a good heart and ideas but, as they say,  with bad masters!

Political will is the need of the hour but that seems like a far fetched dream in this age of ‘vote banks’.

By the way today also he came on air and replied to questions posed by Bhavana(who referred to me only as ‘GANESHAN’ than ganesh though I corrected her once – then What is in a name…)  the hostess of the show and sounded optimistic. He did not say anything about the CCTP website that should have been rolled out in August itself.  One thing is certain. If you listen to government officials for some time you are sure to become cynical.

One surprising call received in the show was complaining about footpaths provided in a street which hinder vehicle movement! Either the street is narrow and foot paths on both sides make it narrower or the street is wide and the foot paths are also so with the same result. There is one other possibility and that is ‘public parking’ by the residents of the street or parking by people coming to commercial establishments nearby. Of course it is also possible that the street may be a short cut to some busy road coupled with heavy vehicle movement.

Now there is a statistics that says that 3/4ths of accidents happen due to traffic congestion and only the rest are due to violation of rules!

November 3rd, 2008Left Right Left

Left turns are normally free here. But are they really free? Just imagine that you are taking a left turn. First you have to slow down then circumvent the autos parked in the street corners, horn, look to your right for any vehicles from that side and turn… No wait… look out for the vehicle parked there… another is cutting across to turn into the road you are coming out from… a vehicle from right suddenly picks up speed to prevent you from merging into the traffic…

Turning into any street or road is an ordeal here just because of the thoughtless parking culture among our people. Once again the ‘chaltha hai’ attitude. So long as nothing happens to them everything is fine.

They can whizz past closely with no horn or with horn which blasts, never mind you may get a heart attack or palpitation…

They can suddenly brake, take a U turn(even in a subway or overbridge!)…

They can blind you with high beam…

They can use side stand to park and take up extra space…

September 6th, 2008Auto Stands

The autos notorious for their rule breakings create nuisance even when they park. They invariably have their stands at the corner of a street, sometimes parked two abreast. Our narrow roads already narrower by pedestrians walking on road due to lack of platform are further made dangerous by these authroised(by whom?!) anarchies.

The autos at the corners make vehicles blind about other vehicles turning or pedestrians walking, trying to cross, smoking, chatting with friends seen after a long time(!), young cyclists who are taught to turn right by moving to the right of the road they are turning from, and others(etc).

Even when they don’t stop at stands they manage to occupy some space on the left or/and right side of any road they feel may fetch them ‘savaari’, again narrowing the width of the road which is narrow, already.

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