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
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.”