The traffic police in Bhopal have come up with a morbid campaign for Road Safety Week, with several tacky slogans reminding motorists that any slip on the roads would lead to their death.
After having failed to enforce road safety rules through tried and tested methods, the traffic police have framed slogans with a distinctly morbid tone, bluntly warning motorists that transgression of norms could lead to an untimely death.
Earlier, the slogan for cautious driving was "Nazar Hati, Durghtna Ghati" (Take your eyes off the road and there will be an accident). The police perhaps found this slogan to be inadequate in driving home their message and added another phrase to it, much to the chagrin of drivers.
The new slogan written on a banner put up at Ambedkar Square reads: "Nazar Hati, Durghatna Ghati Aur Bundi-Pudi Bati" (Take your eyes off the road, there is an accident and you are dead...). “Bundi-Pudi” refers to food served in a community feast organised by Hindus 13 days after the death of a person.
Two hundred meters ahead of Ambedkar Square is VYAPAM Square, where the police have put up a garlanded frame without a picture and a slogan that goes, "Jinhe Jaldi Thi, Woh Chale Gaye. Kripya dheere chalein." (Those who were in a hurry are gone. Please drive slow.)
Bhopal DIG D Sreenivasa Varma said, "People are being cautioned about the ultimate result of reckless driving so that it leaves a greater impact on them. One should not take it negatively as you seem to have done."
The traffic police have tried various methods to enforce road safety rules, including making helmets mandatory for riders of two-wheelers, but such efforts met with little success. They also resorted to ‘Gandhigiri’ by offering roses to riders not wearing helmets or giving them token incentives like presenting pens to those wearing helmets. They also took the step of not allowing the refuelling of two-wheelers whose riders were without helmets but nothing worked.
The High Court has taken up public interest litigation to make helmets compulsory in major cities of Madhya Pradesh and the state government said in an affidavit last year that a lot of riders have started wearing helmets. It also promised there would be a “significant improvement” in the situation but it was snubbed by the court for failing to ensure 100% compliance of the mandatory helmet clause.