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Awkward social situation for traffic police

Delhi Traffic Police perhaps did not anticipate the questions that would come their way when communicating with the public through the Internet.

delhi Updated: May 26, 2010 00:54 IST
Subhendu Ray
Subhendu Ray
Hindustan Times

Delhi Traffic Police perhaps did not anticipate the questions that would come their way when communicating with the public through the Internet.

A few weeks ago the department had logged on to social networking site Facebook and microblogging engine Twitter to provide necessary information about its new plans and initiatives and also make users aware about the city’s traffic condition.

Facebook has also offered a platform for citizens of Delhi to put their suggestions, reactions and views.

The initial few days were smooth for the police to handle. But of late certain questions have put the cops in an embarrassing situation.

For instance, Alok Kathuria, who identified himself as a Delhi resident, today asked through Facebook: “Will the GK1-Sant Nagar red light ever be fixed? It’s been more than three months, the traffic does not stop because drivers coming from Nehru Place never get to know when it becomes red.”

Delhi Traffic Police’s response — “ Signal is not working because DMRC work going on” — has raised questions about the department’s credibility and some say, inefficiency.

Seema Chaddha suggested: “Then make three people stand (at the signal) and set things right…traffic police has to take care not DMRC…”

According to Rajeev Manchanda: “It is very unfortunate to read this comment... I personally lodged complaint about this problem to traffic police helpline 3 times in last one month and was always told that the complaint had been forwarded to CMC, agency which take care of traffic signals. Please advise who is responsible if any accident happens DTP or DMRC ???? please ...” (sic) Alok had another query: “Why is it when VIP’s and VVIP’s move all the lights are working fine, traffic cops stand in the middle and manage traffic and for all of us ‘common people’ there is always an excuse?” (sic)

He posted this query at 3.20 pm on Tuesday, but till the filing of the story there was no response to this query, whereas cops responded promptly to more general queries.

The Traffic Chief Ajay Chadda however, was open to this kind of 'awkward' questions.

“Facebook is a platform through which we get to know about our strengths and weaknesses,” he said.

“We are lauded for our good works, while flayed for failure. Sometimes we receive some queries to which we do not have answers to satisfy people,” said Chaddha.

“Corruption among a section of our people cannot be denied. Besides, being a government body we have our restrictions. Still we welcome positive criticism and do not feel ashamed."

A dedicated team of six to seven persons in the helpline wing communicates with people through social networking sites.

“Still sometimes I personally respond to the queries and suggestions of the people. We collate area specific suggestions or problems to the concerned DCPs on regular basis for taking action,” he said.

“Some actions have already been taken based on complaints we have received through Facebook.”

First Published: May 26, 2010 00:52 IST