Understaffed, Overworked: The Story of Delhi Traffic Police

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In Delhi, for over 80 lakh vehicles, there are only 5,500 traffic cops


New Delhi:  Traffic policemen in Delhi are increasingly becoming victims of road rage. In the last five years, 86 traffic cops have been injured and five have died.

On the streets of Delhi, there seems to be a general lack of respect for the law as one could get away with a fine of just Rs 2000. Even if the driving license is revoked, one can get a fake one very quickly.

"There is a general disregard for the law... people flout rules and then argue," said Muktesh Chandra, Special Commissioner Traffic.

But road rage is not the only problems traffic policemen are facing. They work 18 hour long shifts, are understaffed, overworked, underequipped and are also exposed to deadly pollution at busy intersections everyday.

NDTV spoke to several policemen on some of the problems they faced. Although they didn't want to be shown on TV, they were forthcoming with information.

"We don't have any resources, we can't even stop them," said a traffic cop, and added "Someone hits and goes and all we can do is get their number."

Another said, "We need masks, glasses, CCTV cameras everywhere. We should work in shifts. Our duty should be close to our homes, we are forced to travel so far."

Some said only five per cent were entitled to bikes while they did not even get pension.

And after standing long hours, they often slept at police stations.

Of the total police force, only about one per cent is deployed for traffic, of which nearly 40 per cent are on VIP duty mostly.

In Delhi, for over 80 lakh vehicles, there are only 5,500 traffic cops - most of them working overtime and subjected to frequent transfers.

"They need equipment, modern gadgets as the traffic situation is complex today. They need speed guns, interceptors, CCTV cameras, bikes. They are victims as they don't stand on raised platforms and are not visible in high speed corridors," said Nishi Mittal, former Head of Department of Traffic Engineering and Safety, who is part of a Supreme Court appointed panel to monitor implementation of road safety measures.



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