Road safety officers (RSO) formed teams to help commuters in a gridlocked Gurgaon on Thursday evening. They spread across the city and helped hundreds of commuters, who were caught up on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway and other areas after the downpour, with water, food, milk and medical assistance.
RSOs are part of the community policing initiative of the Haryana Police, headed by the DIG stationed in Karnal.
The group members said they coordinated through WhatsApp and other social media platforms on the chaotic evening and morning that followed.
“It was 11:30pm when a message flashed on a closed WhatsApp group asking for help. The call was not for any individual but was to help thousands of Gurgaonites stuck in traffic,” Harmeet Gulati, an RSO, said.
Mohit Sharma, a senior executive of a corporate firm and an RSO, gathered some people willing to help and tried to direct vehicles through the knee-deep water at Hero Honda Chowk.
“Realising the plight of people stuck in jams, I called up the management of the South City Gurudwara and they immediately flashed the message to their community to help people in need. Apart from this, our RSO members also arranged water and biscuits,” Sharma said.
The RSO team has been working with Gurgaon traffic police to reduce congestion and they are aware of the shortcomings on Gurgaon roads.
“The time I saw the distress message, I immediately called fellow RSOs and we decided to hit the streets. We discussed the situation with the officials of traffic police and spend an hour planning our course of action. Within the next one hour, we had 10 members of the RSO team covering all major intersections of Gurgaon,” Arvind Singla, manager at Emerson Process Management, said.
Wearing reflective jackets and a walkie talkie in hand, these RSOs helped redirect traffic to alternate roads.
“It was 4am when we finally decided to divert the NH-8 traffic to Pataudi road via Rajeev Chowk. After discussing the plan with ACP traffic, we started the diversion and along with traffic police personnel, we made the traffic move in alternate directions,” Rajive Nandwani, director at Oriflame India Pvt Ltd, said.
“With most of the roads submerged, we couldn’t do much to smoothen the traffic flow but there were people who were happy to see us trying to help them out and that’s what matter to us,” Nandwani said.
It was around 7am when the next set of RSOs took over from the night team.
“When I got up in the morning, I realised that I missed the action at night and that’s when I decided to take an off from my office to support the civic agencies,” Harmeet Gulati, chief operating officer at MeraEvents.com, said.
“The first thing we did was to have an emergency meeting with the Gurgaon civil defence team and chalk out a plan of action. We got five tow chains from the civil defence team and headed towards the highway to help clear some of the stranded vehicles,” Gulati said.