Drivers of cars, bikes and heavy vehicles are found driving on the wrong side at almost every roundabout in Greater Noida, risking their lives and that of others.
According to the police, 27 accidents occurred in Greater Noida in February due to driving in the wrong lane. The worst-affected areas in this regard are Surajpur, Kasna and Dadri. None of the accidents resulted in casualties.
The police is now seeking the help of resident welfare associations (RWAs) to depute volunteers to educate people about traffic rules and the accidents that take place due to driving on the wrong side.
“For one month, we launched a drive against wrong-side driving with the help of local police. On Valentine’s Day too, we distributed flowers to defaulters and circulated pamphlets about traffic rules. The roundabouts are at some distances (from each other) and to save (driving on) this distance, commuters often drive on the wrong side. Lack of policemen is a major problem here, which can be countered with volunteers,” said Harender Bhati, member, Active Citizen Team, a group of civil society members and RWAs.
Manjit Singh, a resident of Jagat Farm said, “We have been demanding traffic police personnel for Greater Noida for a long time, but the senior police officials say they don’t have enough staff. We hope technology will solve this problem soon. However, lack of awareness is a major reason for violation of traffic rules. People here are so used to it that they don’t stop from breaking rules even during peak hours.”
The traffic police claim to be short of staff. The department is thus taking the help of retired army personnel for volunteering.
“We are in the process of hiring more volunteers (retired army, police or paramilitary personnel) to strengthen the system,” said Sanjay Singh, superintendent of police (traffic), Gautam Budh Nagar.
The civil police claimed that the city was planned with roundabouts every 1-2 km, but a majority of commuters don’t wish to travel this distance and drive in wrong lanes instead.
“When we catch them, they make silly excuses citing less traffic on the roads. But lesser traffic is not an invitation to drive in the wrong lane,” said Abhishek Yadav, superintendent of police (rural), Gautam Budh Nagar.
Officials said that Greater Noida has lesser traffic as compared to neighbouring cities of Noida and Ghaziabad, but it moves faster.
“Every day, in a short checking drive of two hours, we penalize more than 40-50 offenders for wrong side driving. Sometimes, people don’t even bother about a traffic jam and enter into wrong lane to save (driving) some distance,” Yadav said.
Officials also blame major industrial units located in heart of the city for worsening the traffic conditions.
“There are private companies that are ignoring traffic rules. Near the LG roundabout, nearly 100 trucks are found driving on the wrong side or parked at a ‘no parking zone.’ We have time and again requested the companies to depute their employees to prevent trucks from obstructing traffic. If they don’t act, we will start penalising them,” Yadav said.