Pedestrians cry foul as traffic cops act tough

  • Action against jaywalking
  • People complain rules implemented without adequate preparations and road facilities
- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu

May 31, 2017-

A strict rule that traffic police has brought into force, which many said has come without adequate preparation and giving a proper thought, caught many a pedestrian off guard on Tuesday as they were forced to cough up a fine for “crossing the roads haphazardly” and not through zebra crossings which are not only few and far between but are faded to the extent that they are almost invisible.

Two girls who were asked to pay Rs 200 in fine on Tuesday said they were accosted by traffic cops even when they were walking on the sidewalk. They were fined for “crossing the road haphazardly” in front of Ratna Rajya Campus in Pradarshani Marg. 

“It’s unfair. We were actually walking on the sidewalk,” said one of the girls who did not want to be named. 

The Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD), which enforced the new rules for pedestrians on Tuesday, however, was quick to release the data on the number of jaywalkers it too action against and the amount of revenue it managed to collect by fining them. 

The MTPD said 2,519 jaywalkers were booked on Tuesday and Rs 346,600 was collected in fine. As many as 786 people who were caught for not following the rules and were unable to pay Rs 200 fine were “released” after giving them a half-hour lecture. According to the MTPD, it had deployed 148 traffic officials and 370 temporary cops.

Pedestrians, however, complained of lack of zebra crossings, overhead bridges and sidewalks in the city. 

“We implemented our rules strictly where there are zebra crossings and overhead bridges,” said MTPD chief Mingmar Lama.

According to the MTPD, there are around 107 crosswalks for pedestrians. But 50 percent of them are faded.  

On Tuesday, traffic police rolled out makeshift zebra crossings in Kalanki and Sorhakhutte to make it easier for the pedestrians to cross the roads. 

Dip Barahi, a traffic engineer at the Department of Roads, said his office “has already” instructed various road divisions to repaint faded zebra crossings. “I am not aware why the instruction has not been followed,” said Barahi. 

Earlier, the DoR and KMC had announced to allocate Rs 500,000 each to repaint 

the zebra crossings in the metropolis.

The road sections in Tripureshwor, Thapathali, Koteshwor, Tinkune,  Chabahil, Kupandole among other areas do not have zebra crossings. “How can such strict rules be implemented without proper preparations. There are not enough zebra crossings and wherever they are, they are faded,” said Ashish Bajgain from Sanob Bharyang, who terming the MTPD decision to enforce stricter rules for pedestrians “irresponsible”.

Published: 31-05-2017 07:54

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