Priest, doctor & travel agent among 5,000 to help cops at traffic signals
To Guide Drivers, Pedestrians For 2 Hrs Every Day
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.