Bangalore: "Jungle mein more nacha, kissi ne na dekha, hum jo thodi si peeke zara jhoome, hai re sab ne dekha!" (When the peacock danced in the jungle, nobody saw, but when I drank and danced a little, everybody saw) The film Madhumati’s song aptly captured the capability of a drunk to attract attention through Mohammad Rafi’s voice and the comic antics of Johnny Walker (not the Scotch). Bangalore traffic police too has been watching every drunk keenly and the eagle eyes have only been sharpened and strengthened with technology and an act.
On March 1, 2012, the Union Cabinet approved proposed changes to the Motor Vehicle Act wherein drunk driving would be dealt with higher penalty and jail terms — fines ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000 and imprisonment from six months to four years. It is worth noticing that while the consumption of alcohol has steadily been increasing in the bar and pub city, the number of cases of drunken driving has seen a marginal decrease.
The intensified attack by the Bangalore traffic police on all those who drink and drive have surely yielded the desired results. In the year 2010, 66,933 cases of drunken driving came to notice. The following year, in 2011, the number of cases registered were 61,923 and finally in 2012, till date 30, 205 number of cases are recorded. “Reduce in drunken driving cases in the city has been a result of people acting more responsible off late. They hire cabs whenever they are under the influence of alcohol, as most of the hotels and pubs has cab facilities accessible for their customers,” said MA Saleem, the Additional Commissioner of Bangalore Traffic Department.
On the other hand when City Express interacted with a few pubs and bars, they revealed that they have been witnessing an increase in alcohol consumption with every a month. The manager of Sutra Lounge, Subendra said, “We provide cabs for our customers at a discounted rate at Rs 500 plus taxes within 20 km.” Although the manager of Ice bar of Taj Vivanta in Trinity Circle informed us that they do have any cab facility, he added, “The sales of alcohol is always been on the rising trend.”
When City Express spoke to a few citizens, they feel the recent reforms in the Motor Vehicle Act have clearly played a pivotal and deterrent role in bring down drunken driving cases. “Today the awareness among the youth is more and they fear the apparent consequence. On top of it, Bangalore traffic police is on a spree to catch drunken drivers,” says Sujith A, a Master degree student. Voicing a similar opinion, Ranjith Goel, a BPO employee said, “The traffic police have become pretty strict in the bringing the culprits of drunken driving. Who would like to pay Rs 2,000, rather one will book a cab in Rs 1,000.”