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At the crossroads

Stick to the straight and narrow, and wait for it, the Delhi Police will even give you a few bucks for your behaviour.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2012 22:45 IST
Hindustan Times

At the risk of repeating ourselves, we will have to say it all over again: life is cheap in this beautiful country. So even after the government spending a helluva lot of money (and in the process, some people making a lot of money) on building overbridges and subways, fitting them with elevators and escalators and ramps, we still see pedestrians doing the monkey act on the roads i.e. crossing busy roads by trying to jump across the shoulder-high iron/concrete dividers. Most don't make it in one go and are left hanging precariously on the rails for seconds before they find enough energy to heave themselves up and make the crossing. While such determined approaches are visually comical, they can be fatal too.

According to the Delhi Police, of 1,852 fatal road accidents in 2011, 46.3% cases involved pedestrians. The data for other cities, we are sure, would be equally bad. So after holding 'Traffic Safety Weeks' for years, the Delhi Police now has taken to a new method: it is enticing the public to use these bridges and subways by offering them monetary rewards! From January 1, the police have distributed coupons to the pedestrians who use the facilities provided and held a lucky draw recently. The lucky one, coupon number 6,401, won Rs 5,000. But don't lose heart, similar draws will be held every month.

This kind of an experiment is probably unparalleled in any part of the world. But hold on, isn't this called conditional cash transfer? If countries can give money to parents to send their kids to school or go for their polio drops, then why can't this innovation also qualify as one such conditional cash transfer? While we are not in any way against any cash transfers - since not much comes our way from the government or the tax department after we file our yearly returns - we would still like to know what happened to the good old challan system? You know, as they say, spare the rod and spoil the child.

First Published: Jan 09, 2012 22:42 IST