KOCHI: Laws are framed to be obeyed. But for Kochiites, it seems rules are made to be flouted.
As the City Police and Corporation have promised to enhance enforcing activities, ‘City Express’ looks at the areas where Kochiites give two hoots to the major rules and High Court directives.
When ‘City Express’ caught up with the officials of Corporation and Police and Motor Vehicles Departments, all point fingers at layman’s hostility towards traffic rules and sheer disregard at littering at public space.
“Kochiites have no traffic etiquette. They never care about the speed limits, red lights, zebra crossing or stop lines. Even as motorcyclists adhere to helmet use, rash driving is very common. You can see many riding bikes and scooters on the footpath. Installing cameras at various points has helped to keep a tab on rash drivers to a considerable extent,” a senior police official said.
The civilians also do not abide by the High Court directives against waste dumping at public places.
Jumping Traffic Lights
According to police and Motor Vehicles Department, most number of people are booked these days for jumping traffic lights.
Data with the police suggest that over 100 people are booked daily with the help of surveillance cameras for jumping traffic signals.
The rule to stop vehicles at the stop line is often violated. Most of the vehicles are seen stopping at the zebra crossing, making it difficult for the pedestrians who want to reach the other side of the road. Sadly, neither the police nor the MVD has taken any action in this regard.
Buses should follow the norm of parking only one behind the other at bus stops and should not overtake other moving buses. The Kerala High Court had given this direction to MVD.
But this order is rarely obeyed and enforced. At Menaka bus stop, barricades are placed to prevent the buses from halting away from the stop. But very few buses move along the prescribed area. A woman had died in the spot after being hit by a bus a few years ago.
Even the Motor Vehicles Department was stunned when it came to know that around 400 people were caught daily for speeding. With lack of infrastructure to track traffic violators, they escape punishment. However, the authorities feel that with the newly-launched surveillance camera it won’t be easy going for law-offenders.
The Kerala High Court, last year, prohibited dumping of waste in plastic carry bags or bags made of any other non-biodegradable material in public places or roadsides, and ordered the police to prosecute law-breakers. Those who violated the ban order can be booked under Sections 268 (public nuisance), 269 (negligent Act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 279 (making atmosphere noxious to health) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and also under the relevant
provisions of the municipal laws. But even after six months, this directive is not kept and action against the people who flout the rule has not been taken.
Travelling on footboards of buses is common in Kochi. Though there were provisions to impose fines under Section 123 of the Motor Vehicles Act for footboard travel, the police do not resort to any action.
People of Kochi are constantly exposed to high decibel sounds particularly due to increase in road traffic. A scientific study has proved that noise from the vehicles affect the hearing ability of people. Bus drivers and traffic policemen are one of the most exposed groups. Using sound horn near the hospitals and educational institutions is also prohibited, which is seldom adhered to.
The High Court had restricted the number of riders on two-wheelers to two, with a small child on the pillion rider’s lap as an option.
There have been numerous instances of children being thrown out of two-wheeler when it meets with accident, since they are perched on the fuel tank or behind the rider.
The police had a year ago made lane traffic manadatory in Kochi. Under the lane traffic system, people have to move the car one after another in lane. But this is rarely obeyed by the drivers, and the police subsequently had to stop the system.
Ernakulam had been declared a smoke-free district. But apart from the announcement, people still enjoy smoking in the public. Dozens of defaulters are found daily roaming on road sides.
At a major junction like Kaloor, you can come across a number of people crossing the roads even without caring for the vehicles coming from both sides. Around 40 per cent of accident deaths reported in Kochi were involving pedestrians. The pedestrians also have to follow the traffic lights while crossing roads.
No Open Doors
The High Court had directed the State Government to take immediate steps to make amendments to the Motor Vehicle Rules to ensure that only private buses with doors plied on roads.
The government was told to cancel the permits of those buses that operated without doors.
But even the low-floor buses of the KSRTC ply by keeping their doors open.