If you are one of those people who ignore traffic signals and dash across a busy road, then you may want to change your ways.
The Bombay high court on Wednesday directed the traffic department to crack down on jaywalkers.
A division bench of justice DK Deshmukh and justice KK Tated observed that apart from motorists, even pedestrians need to learn traffic discipline.
"Pedestrians cross [the road] from everywhere except on zebra crossing," justice Deshmukh said. The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the Bombay Bar Association seeking implementation of traffic rules.
The judges asked the government what was being done to discipline jaywalkers. In a lighter vein, they observed that jaywalkers deserve "flogging". "In all district courts, there is a place marked for public flogging or phatkas with cane," remarked justice Deshmukh.
The judges even asked as to who would catch them (jaywalkers), considering that the police were already overburdened.
Petitioner's advocate Janak Dwarkadas argued that despite zebra crossings, the vehicles would continue to come forward and thereby confuse pedestrians.
The court has given the civic body four months to complete paintings of lanes and zebra crossings.
Counsel for petitioner Fredun DeVitre also argued that there was a need for aerial survey of traffic during peak hours to know which areas had bottlenecks.
The court then asked the government to file an affidavit on the possibility of using helicopters to monitor and supervise traffic. However, the judges were informed that the traffic department did not have any helicopters. To this, justice Deshmukh said, "There should be one for emergency."
The high court also wants the government to give details of its plan to cover major traffic junctions with close circuit televisions (CCTV) cameras and steps to ease traffic problems during visits of VIPs in the city.
Advocate Armin Wandrewala, who has intervened in the PIL, suggested that volunteers be appointed. "We don't accept volunteers. We don't know for what purpose one would become a volunteer. What punishment do we give them if they are not in service?" Deshmukh said.
BMC extends contract for painting zebra crossings
After the Bombay high court slammed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for faulty contracts for painting zebra crossings in the city, the civic body now wants to award extra contracts of Rs1.85 crore to the same contractors so that the remaining work can be completed.
The high court has given the civic body an extension of four months to paint existing and new pedestrian crossings in the city. The BMC has extended the contracts of Asphalt Constructions and New India Construction Company. The agencies were awarded the contract for Rs4.33 crore for the year 2009-2011.
The corporation has painted only 314 of the 752 zebra crossings as the contracts awarded for the job ended in January.
A statement made by the civic administration in the standing committee on Wednesday stated that since the contract of the two agencies expired in January 2011, awarding new contracts to complete the work stipulated by the high court would take some time.
NCP corporator Mangesh Bansode said that instead of blacklisting the contractors, the civic body was paying them from it own pockets.
Claiming that the money was being wasted, Rajul Patel, Shiv Sena corporator, said the paint being used by the contractors was of poor quality.
Since the standing committee members had objections with the division of cost for the city and the suburbs, the statement was sent back to the administration.
"The city is getting more preference while the suburbs are being neglected. The cost for painting zebra crossings is double for zone-1 (Cuffe Parade to Byculla) in comparison to zone 6 (Kurla to Ghatkopar)," said BJP corporator Yogesh Sagar.
Additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani said, "The traffic police has given us additional spots to be marked as pedestrian crossings and we will include all this in the extension."