New Delhi: If you’re tempted to jump that red light, watch out. You may succeed in zipping away. But a minute later, you could find a traffic cop on your tail. It’s the new cat-and-mouse game on Delhi roads. The traffic cops, patrolling on their new Bajaj Pulsars, are just waiting to pounce on traffic offenders and chasing them till they’re caught.
The motorcycles patrol specific corridors that they are assigned in two shifts. The policemen on motorbikes mingle with the unsuspecting traffic, all the while keeping a sharp lookout for offenders. “We often take people by a surprise. We hand over the challan to them even before they can recover from the shock”, says Rajiv, head constable, Delhi traffic police.
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The new chase-and-challan concept was introduced by Delhi police commissioner Y.S. Dadwal in February last year. Since then, the number of motorists fined has increased by almost four lakhs from 2007 to 2008. About 30 percent of the challans last year were issued after a chase.
Encouraged by the success of the experiment, the Delhi traffic police has recently added a pack of 200 new Bajaj Pulsars to its motorcycle squad, taking the total to 410. The users are quite pleased with the efficiency of their new machines. “ Pulsar has a self start mechanism. It has a great pickup. We can easily chase the offenders and nab them.” Says Rajiv, head constable
The Delhi police is proud of its new initiative. But the people caught in the new drive are complaining and charges of harassment are common. “ I just stopped by to ask the cops where Lodhi colony is, but instead of helping me find my way, they issued a challan”, says Amit, a commuter. “Sometimes you take a wrong lane by mistake, but does that mean you pay a challan for it?” asks another motorist.
Reacting to the harassment charges against traffic police, joint commissioner of police S.N. Shrivastava says, “Whenever there is a complaint, its immediately inquired into and if there is a need to correct our own staff, that is done including giving them punishment, But I must say the complaints against the traffic staff are not many.”