Cops strug­gle with lack of breath anal­y­sers

BE­FORE DE­CEM­BER 31 The traf­fic depart­ment has only four­teen de­vices, 11 of which have been sent to Gu­jarat for re­pair; the city is di­vided into fif­teen traf­fic units

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - HT NAVI MUMBAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NAVI MUM­BAI: With De­cem­ber 31 fast ap­proach­ing, the Navi Mum­bai traf­fic depart­ment has launched a spe­cial drive against drink driv­ing in the city. How­ever, they have only three func­tional breathal­y­sers to check the drunk driv­ers on roads.

The depart­ment has an­other 11 breath anal­y­sers that had been ly­ing de­funct for sev­eral months. Of­fi­cials say that those were sent to Gu­jarat for re­pair­ing via a pri­vate com­pany last month, but have not come back yet.

Navi Mum­bai, a city of 22 lakh res­i­dents, has been di­vided into 15 traf­fic units. If those 11 breath anal­y­sers reach the city be­fore the New Year cel­e­bra­tions, the depart­ment will get a to­tal of 14 of them. And if they give one anal­yser to each unit, even then too one unit will not have one.

“It ap­pears to be a joke that the traf­fic depart­ment of a city like Navi Mum­bai is hav­ing such is­sues. Even if one unit gets one breath anal­yser, it will not serve any pur­pose. For ex­am­ple, the Vashi unit alone has sev­eral junc­tions that get crowded dur­ing Christ­mas and New Year cel­e­bra­tions. Ve­hi­cles come here via Vashi toll naka, Palm Beach road, Kopar Khairane, Sion-Pan­vel high­way among oth­ers. So what will the po­lice do with one breath anal­yser for the en­tire area?” said Raju Sharma, 35, a res­i­dent of Vashi.

“The traf­fic depart­ment spends a huge amount of money by or­gan­is­ing road safety week ev­ery year. Why can’t they spend some money for pur­chas­ing a few new breath anal­y­sers? Why could not they send the de­funct anal­y­sers for re­pair­ing a few weeks ear­lier?” he added.

Owing to heavy po­lice ban­dobast and ad­e­quate pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures taken by the traf­fic depart­ment, no un­to­ward in­ci­dent took place in the satel­lite city on De­cem­ber 31 last year. A to­tal of 288 mo­torists were booked for drink driv­ing dur­ing last New Year cel­e­bra­tions. Kalamboli wit­nessed the high­est num­ber of such cases, 69, in the city.

Go­rak Patil, po­lice in­spec­tor from the traf­fic depart­ment said, “The de­funct anal­y­sers were sent for re­pair­ing more than a month ago and we have been con­stantly fol­low­ing it. We are con­fi­dent of get­ting them back within next two days. It is true that 14 anal­y­sers are not suf­fi­cient for the en­tire city, but we have to man­age things with lim­ited re­sources.”

In 2015, drink driv­ing cases in the city have in­creased by al­most 83%. Be­tween Jan­uary and Novem­ber this year, the po­lice reg­is­tered as many as 1,321 drink driv­ing cases as op­posed to 724 cases reg­is­tered in the cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod in 2014. A to­tal of 140 cases were reg­is­tered in the first two weeks of De­cem­ber.

Arvind Salve, deputy com­mis­sioner of po­lice (traf­fic) said, “We have al­ready de­ployed our of­fi­cials at dif­fer­ent places to check the driv­ers. The cam­paign will be in­ten­si­fied on De­cem­ber 19, 30 and 31. We will leave no stone un­turned to keep the roads safe for the mo­torists and other peo­ple dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tions.”

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