Besides the fact that both are on the Juhu-Versova Link Road, a number of parallels can be drawn between the Utpal Shanghvi School in Juhu and Skylark Society in Andheri (West). For one, both the areas were being plagued by terrible traffic congestion and in both cases citizen volunteers and DN Nagar traffic police officials worked together to resolve the situation. Due to their diligent effort the traffic problem has been resolved to a large extent. The thread of similarity runs deeper with both writing letters of appreciation commending the efforts of Vijay Dhatrak, senior police inspector of DN Nagar traffic chowky.
Cooperation yields results
Principal of Utpal Shanghvi School, Dr Saroj Anand, wrote to Pratap Dighavkar, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), lauding the timely and effective action of Dhatrak. According to Anand, the traffic situation near the school was spiralling out of control, till a month ago. “The traffic police arranged for a tow truck to tow away all unauthorised vehicles,” she says. The school authorities were wary of unauthorised parking of vehicles near the school premises. It not only added to the congestion, but also posed a security threat to the hundreds of schoolchildren.
“Traffic police officials were deployed near the school, especially during rush hours, to regulate the traffic. Apart from that, following requests from the officials, the BMC set up speed breakers near the school premises. Zebra crossings were also painted near the school gates to ease pedestrian movement,” said Anand.
PTA members played an important role in improving the situation. Chhaya Dave, an active PTA member, says “I, along with two other members, approached each and every parent who came to drop their kids to the school. We asked them not to park their vehicles near the school premises for long, as then the school buses had to be parked at a distance, compelling the students to walk a long distance to and from the buses. Luckily the parents were very cooperative and listened to us,” said Dave. Dave added that the traffic police played a major role in the initiative. “They put up traffic signs and sanctioned permission for putting up a railing,” she said. Anand agrees, “Thanks to the continued efforts of some of our PTA members and the traffic police the situation has improved to a great extent.”
Residents looked after
Residents of the Skylark society are also pleased by the prompt action taken by the police in their area. They wrote to the joint commissioner of police (traffic) commending Dhatrak’s efforts.
A major cause of traffic congestion in the area was the unauthorised garages opposite the society. These garages parked vehicles in front of the society constricting the road. Diwaker Nallapothula, secretary of the society, says, “The road in front of our society had become accident-prone as the parked vehicles obstructed the view of fast-moving vehicles on the road. I am thankful to the DN Nagar traffic police for taking cognisance of the problem. Senior Inspector Vijay Dhatrak visited the area, took stock of the situation, and has been proactive in resolving the problems of the residents.”
Nallapothula, however, fears that the lack of a mechanism to monitor the violations will bring the efforts to naught. “We have requested for a permanent traffic outpost on the road with a personnel in it. This could help control unauthorised parking and traffic congestion on the road,” he added.
As for Dhatrak, he is happy to see people recognise the efforts of the traffic police. At the same time, he promises to help regulate traffic in the area. “Whether it is unauthorised parking or traffic congestion, the problems come back the moment we stop inspecting the area regularly. However, we will continue our efforts and make sure that traffic problems are minimised,” said Dhatrak.