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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

Traffic chaos on autopilot

Rameshinder Singh Sandhu , Hindustan Times  Amritsar, October 16, 2013
First Published: 19:46 IST(16/10/2013) | Last Updated: 19:51 IST(16/10/2013)

The so-called tourist city is most accommodating when it comes to welcoming money.

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So don't mind that its auto-rickshaws and buses are packed; there's always room to take more passengers on board. Overloading is no issue; dismiss the awareness and education efforts of the traffic department.

The three-wheelers and buses, main systems of public transport here, are also the wreckers-in-chief of traffic rules. Every day, the vehicles go packed, even with children, women and senior citizens.

Travel is guaranteed, even if safety is not. "Drivers overload auto-rickshaws and buses, overlooking that it puts lives in danger," said Deshbir Singh, a young lawyer in Amritsar. "The risk is enormous but traffic police seem least concerned. We can't be waiting for accidents before we get into action." said Angad Bal, studying business management.

On the GT Road, the scene plays every minute before the eyes of traffic police. Same goes outside Sadar police station, Putlighar Chowk, Khandwala Chowk, Chheharta Chowk, and India Gate Bypass Chowk. Asked to react, traffic police official Baljeet Randhawa said all deployed men didn't have more authority than issuing traffic ticket.

The offenders don't need this statement to gain confidence; they have made it a tradition already to put passengers on top, cabin top, because that's where they adjust children as well. They drive rash and jump red light; but hey, it's a race against time.

Paramjit Kaur, a domestic help, knows where the control lies: in the people's hands. "We have a choice not to board. Wait for the next bus or auto-rickshaw that has a seat, as I do when I travel daily from my village." She gets to the point.

Speakout

Traffic police should deal with the issue seriously
Angad Bal, MBA student

Prevention is better than cure, and in our own hands
Baljinder Kaur, housewife

Overloading buses and auto-rickshaws invites danger Deshbir Singh, lawyer

I never board an overloaded bus or auto. You do the same
Paramjit Kaur, domestic help

Officialspeak

We do fine the traffic offenders but that's where the authority stops
Baljeet Randhawa, traffic police official

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