Mumbai police commissioner (CP) Arup Patnaik on Monday personally assured the Bombay high court that the traffic situation in the city would improve soon.
Patnaik told the division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice RP Sondurbaldota that he had decided to deploy more women traffic police officers on roads to ensure more sensitivity towards minor traffic violators.
Also, more traffic police would be deployed on Marine Drive and near various chowpatties in the city during evening hours, Patnaik said while responding to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the Bombay Bar Association seeking strict implementation of traffic rules.
As directed by the court, both Patnaik and Vivek Phansalkar, joint commissioner of police, traffic, were present for the hearing. The CP said that he had already issued a circular imposing a ban on the use of mobile phones by police personnel during duty hours.
Armin Wandrewala, an intervener in the matter, complained that the ground situation had remained dismal although higher ups were willing to cooperate. Reacting to her complaint, the judges told Patnaik and Phansalkar “to keep the traffic constables on their toes”.
Government pleader Dhairyasheel Nalavade told the judges that the Traffic Control Branch was facing a shortage of manpower — 158 officers and 2,489 members of constabulary are currently taking care of nearly 20 lakh vehicles plying on city roads running into 1,941km and having 1,237 important junctions.
The court has now directed the state government to take a decision within four weeks on a proposal forwarded by the Traffic Control Branch to set aside a certain portion of the fine collected against traffic violations.
Patnaik informed the court that the proposal had been forwarded to the home department two years ago.