Bengaluru: The increased police checks at night against drunken driving have been welcomed by many, but during the day, law enforcement officials can be a hindrance than a help. Small posses of policemen lurk around narrow arterial roads to ambush commuters under the guise of checking their documents.
The cops stop the vehicles at random. Already stressed from the soul-sapping traffic, vehicle owners curse at their bad luck. The cops check their documents, like driving licence, RC book and insurance papers, ever slowly and deliberately. Sometimes the check can take up to 10 minutes, as a small queue of unfortunate victims wait for their turn.
Like in Banaswadi on the Chikkabanaswadi Road where it meets the Banaswadi Main Road in front of Banaswadi Garrison. Traffic policemen stopping vehicles on the narrow stretch cause headache for commuters. Every day, starting in the morning and throughout the day, three or four policemen led by a sub-inspector intercept vehicles under the guise of checking the documents and complicate the slow-moving.
“Every day, this is a headache,” says Arunachalam, an executive in a nationalised insurance company, who was heading to his office on Mallya Road. “I have been flagged down at least four times in the last three months. Why they have to do at this chicken neck of a road is something I don’t understand.”
While cars are checked occasionally, it is two-wheeler riders and autorickshaws that get caught the most. The two-wheeler riders are the worst hit, now that they should have two helmets in case of a pillion rider. That is, of course, in addition to all papers being in order.
Autorickshaw drivers are the favourite prey. Those who have not paid past fines are at most risk. Many are let off by paying ‘relief money’ to put it mildly. That ranges from Rs 100 to Rs 500.
All this in addition to the slow-moving traffic that raises the blood pressure of office-goers worried about reporting late. Many commuters, scarred by experience, try to find getaway routes. One is the right turn just past the State Bank of India after the Ayyappa Temple. The left turn takes them to a T-junction, where they turn left to meet the Chikkabanaswadi Road, just beyond the reach of policemen.
“I take this route everyday, and get out of their clutches. For some reason, they stay put at the same spot,” says Riyaz, an ageing auto driver. “Why should they do it on the narrow stretch, knowing full well the inconvenience caused to commuters? Their duty should be to ease traffic and not hamper it,” Arunachalam says....