It isn't often that the vice chancellor of a university stands at the campus gate himself to teach traffic rules to students. But that's exactly what is happening in Panjab University where road accidents have been on the rise.
Since Monday, Vice Chancellor R.C. Sobti and senior colleagues have turned up at the main gate every day. The winter chill is no deterrent for Sobti and his team as they stand for hours and also go around the campus on foot to look for students flouting traffic rules.
They request students to wear safety helmets and drive within the speed limit inside the campus, where roads witness accidents almost every day.
"We cannot motivate the students by imposing strict rules or by slapping fines on them. We also know that we cannot bring overnight results but it is Panjab University's endeavour to change the students' mindset by making constant efforts," Gaurav Gaur, lecturer in the university's social work department, told IANS.
"We are excited to see the results of the last three days," he added Thursday. "Now you can see students wearing helmets inside the campus."
The authorities added to their drive Thursday by starting to hand out red and green cards to students.
Red cards are for students who are not wearing helmets while driving or who are violating traffic rules. Green cards are for students who follow traffic rules. Green card holders will be roped in to teach other students the relevance of following safety norms while driving.
"The introduction of these cards can help awaken a sense of right and wrong among students," hoped a faculty member and a part of Sobti's team. "They have to keep these cards with them inside the campus."
Panjab University is a walled campus spread over 550 acres in Sectors 14 and 25 of Chandigarh. The Chandigarh traffic police does not cover the campus. The university has its own security guards.
There are over 60 teaching and research departments at the Chandigarh campus. Over 150 colleges in Punjab are affiliated to the varsity. Over 10,000 students study at the Chandigarh campus. Of them, around 70 per cent are women.
"We will really appreciate and support this move of the vice chancellor as roads inside the campus have really become prone to deadly accidents. Due to the increase of vehicle density inside the campus, every day there is one or more accident here," said Karan Marwaha, a student of the political science department.
Vijay Pal, security in-charge of Panjab University and a retired deputy superintendent of police, said: "I praise this effort of the varsity authorities and we are ready to provide any kind of help to them in making this concept a big success."