Priest, doc­tor & travel agent among 5,000 to help cops at traf­fic sig­nals

To Guide Driv­ers, Pedes­tri­ans For 2 Hrs Ev­ery Day

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY - Ni­tasha.Natu@ times­

Mum­bai: Few wor­ship­pers at the Cama Baug Agiary on Grant Road would be aware that their priest Hor­muz Ravji serves the so­ci­ety in more ways than one. For most part of the day, Ravji is at the fire tem­ple and in the evening, he heads to Mal­abar Hill where he en­sures mo­torists stick to road rules and helps pedes­tri­ans cross the road.

Ravji is among a group of 5,000 traf­fic guides that traf­fic po­lice have reg­is­tered till now for as­sist­ing con­sta­bles at junc­tions for two hours ev­ery day. While the traf­fic guides’ project was of­fi­cially launched by the po­lice com­mis­sioner on Tues­day, Ravji and a few oth­ers, such as a doc­tor from Sion, a travel agent from Don­gri and a driv­ing in­struc­tor from Sa­har, have been help­ing out traf­fic cops for a decade.

“In those days, we would have to pass an exam and would be im­parted train­ing be- fore we could at­tend to traf­fic du­ties. There was no com­pul­sion to head out on the street ev­ery­day but I did it for com­mu­nity ser­vice. Ear­lier, I would guide mo­torists at Tardeo closer to where I live. Now, I head to Gir­gaum Chow­patty and Mal­abar Hill,” said Ravji. He has had un­savoury ex­pe­ri­ences too, such as when a woman mo­torist, pulled up for driv­ing on the wrong side, cre­ated a ruckus. “She in­sis- ted she wasn't wrong and kept ar­gu­ing. I di­rected her to a uni­formed cop and we ended up check­ing CCTV footage of the stretch. The CCTV grabs caught her lie and she had noth­ing left to say,” said Ravji.

Dr Su­nil Ka­math, a re­tired pathol­ogy lab owner, says he al­ways wanted to join the forces. “This is the clos­est I am to liv­ing my dream. When I'm stand­ing at Sion junc­tion, I'm no doc­tor and my only in­ter­est is to en­sure there is no con­ges­tion. Some­times, peo­ple smile at me and fre­quent trav­ellers may salute. But there are peo­ple who abuse and that leaves me very up­set,” said Ka­math.

Sex­a­ge­nar­ian Ramesh Mun­dada, who has been as­sist­ing traf­fic po­lice since 1988, says max­i­mum of­fend­ers are gov­ern­ment ser­vants and pro­fes­sion­als like lawyers. “I have a trick to scare a rowdy gov­ern­ment ser­vant be­hind the wheel; I tell him I will com­plain to the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion Depart­ment (GAD) at Mantralaya,” Mun­dada said. Ab­dul Karim Ju­mani, a Don­gri-based travel agent and an ac­tive Mo­halla com­mit­tee mem­ber, says he has never faced any trou­ble from er­rant mo­torists. “They know I'm a lo­cal res­i­dent and neigh­bours would rush to my sup­port,” he said.

“The traf­fic guides' ma­jor fo­cus would be on pedes­trian reg­u­la­tion as 50% fa­tal­i­ties in­volve pedes­tri­ans. We have given re­flec­tor jack­ets, ba­tons and caps to the guides. Col­lege stu­dents are also be­ing en­cour­aged to join,” said joint com­mis­sioner of po­lice (traf­fic), Amitesh Kumar.

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