Next time you find yourself mentally hurling obscenities at a traffic cop, “who appears to be doing nothing” in the rush hour traffic, hit the brakes and look around — especially at the eight-member team of traffic personnel from the Mahankali traffic police station, led by inspector T. Ramaswamy. .
While walking around the city, how many times did you have to hold your breath because of the unbearable stench? How many times did you have to avert your gaze just because a man decided to relieve himself in broad daylight? If you have stayed in Hyderabad even for a week, the answer would still be, “far too many times”.
But that’s where Ramaswamy and his team come in. Since Thursday, the team has been catching hold of people who were found urinating in public spaces and rather than being yelled at or threatened, the “perpetrators” are being garlanded. “This campaign is our contribution towards the government’s Swachh Hyderabad campaign,” says the 56-year-old Ramaswamy.
Since its inception, he reveals, close to 20 people have been caught every day. “When caught, their first reaction is fear because they think they are in grave trouble and might be jailed. But we tell them not to urinate in public places and instead use the urinal facilities set up by the government. Finally, when we put a garland around their neck, they are embarrassed,” says Ramaswamy, who is confident that rather than being aggressive, such an approach will be more effective in the long run.
The team takes out time from their daily schedule to carry on with the campaign. “From 9 am to 11.30 pm the traffic is at its peak and that’s when none of the traffic personnel are available. The non-peak hours are 11.30 pm to 5 pm and it’s during this time my team goes rounds,” says Swamy.
Though doing the work of the GHMC, Ramaswamy has no qualms. “It’s social work,” he says, adding, “I hope all the police stations take up this campaign across the twin cities because then our city will surely be neat and clean.”
Previously, they had also carried out a campaign where chocolates were distributed to riders who weren’t wearing a helmet....