Every time it rained this monsoon, constable Rajeev Singh (name changed) would be on duty for over eight hours, regulating the vehicular movement on the busy Rajiv Chowk.
With just a thin jacket for cover and trousers folded knee-up, Singh directs motorists as he stands barefoot in the middle of the waterlogged road.
Heavy downpour does not cause inconvenience to just commuters every monsoon, it is worse for the police personnel who manage the traffic and the resultant chaos on such days.
The traffic police personnel in Gurgaon, especially the low-ranked, brave snarls, rain and public apathy in the absence of any protective gear. “We cannot wear leather shoes when the roads are inundated. We have to work either barefoot or wearing slippers,” said Singh.
Apart from directing the traffic, police personnel, both in white and khaki uniforms, also help vehicles that break down on waterlogged roads. With no regular meal times, harsh on-the-job conditions and many rebukes by seniors in times of crises, the traffic police do not have it easy. “We can’t complain as we signed up for this. There will be jams and we try our best to regulate it,” said a traffic police personnel at Hero Honda Chowk, the intersection most vulnerable to water logging post rains.
“The roads are badly designed and people do not follow traffic rules, but we are blamed for the resultant chaos,” said another traffic police personnel.
The Haryana government approved a provision a year ago of spending a portion of the money collected through challans for traffic police modernisation.
“I agree that police work under hostile conditions, but we are trying to improve things. The money for traffic police modernisation has come and we are planning to utilise it in a phased out manner,” said Sandeep Khirwar, police commissioner, Gurgaon.
On a regular day, 335 personnel from the nearly 4,000-strong Gurgaon police force are deployed as traffic police. They were quick to take charge of the roads and crossings prone to traffic snarls after the logjam on NH-8 following heavy rains and waterlogging on July 28-29.
More than 1,000 traffic police personnel were deployed for crisiss management on August 29 and 31 and September 1 to prevent the July-type logjam .