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No Honk Day by Gurgaon Traffic Police: Why it may not work
"Don't ask me to stop. Ask the pigs to move", shouted the dressed up chauffeur of the Mercedes when asked to not honk by a fellow cyclist. If you peek into the back seat of the Mercedes you will be able to understand the plight of the chauffeur. His passengers in the back seat of the Mercedes were a couple of European gentlemen half amused with the trotting pigs and half disturbed with the delayed journey towards the destination- visibly their chauffeur was either too embarrassed or too irritated.

The cyclist smirked, took up his cycle and carried on moving on the footpath. In this classic commotion on Gurgaon's posh Golf Course Road in a busy office day, who do you blame can you actually hope the driver not to honk at the cost of being counted stupid and irresponsible towards his job?

Gurgaon Traffic Police’s efforts to create awareness through ‘No honking Day’ are praiseworthy, but in all probability the effort will fall flat for the following reason:

1.       The Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon or HUDA or whoever it is, just doesn’t work

If you have hoards of cows, pigs and dogs moving around on the city streets, you cannot blame the drivers for honking. There had been drives against stray animals in the past with considerable good results but the tempo never kept on for Gurgaon’s Municipal bodies. In its defense the MCG probably will say that it has spent 1 crore Indian rupees to create a Gaushala and have collaborated with an NGO named People for Animals to catch stray pigs – but a look onto the streets will tell you that the NGO has just not caught enough pigs. These animals often block the roads and the only way a driver can react is by honking.

2.       No traffic signals ; Roads are badly planned

At one side of the city you remove a roundabout near HUDA City Centre Metro Station understanding that the traffic volume is increasing, just on the opposite side, nearly at the same time, you create another roundabout in Palam Vihar (name it Rezangla Chowk), erect a memorial in middle of the road without any traffic signal to control the four way traffic coming in. The fact that there is also a hospital (Columbia Asia Hospital), a shopping mall (Ansal Plaza) and a primary school (Chiranjeev Bharti) situated by the same roundabout was also never considered. Any car moving towards the roundabout will be bound to honk just 50 mtrs away from the hospital or in front of the school in order to attract attention of the other three way incoming traffic and save himself from an accident. With Gurgaon extending beyond New Palam Vihar towards Dwarka Expressway and with traffic in this road increasing gradually, this is fast becoming a busy but blind intersection foe drivers. With no traffic signals added to it, it will be naïve to ask the drivers not to honk because there is a hospital in the vicinity.

3.       No ‘auto’ rules in the city; no bus shelters

There is not a single bus shelter in Gurgaon. One that used to exist in IFFCO Chowk long time back had been uprooted, probably in an effort of beautification of the city. The buses stop anywhere and everywhere on the road and restart only when they feel like. Do you actually expect a driver to sit patiently and not honk till the buses start moving? The story is not much different for auto drivers who will park together in one particular hotspot and try to attract passengers. In fact if you ask a pedestrian, probably they dread getting hit an overtaking auto more than they dread a honking sound.

It probably is required to be put as a disclaimer that the idea of the article was not to undermine the efforts and initiatives of the Gurgaon Traffic Police. The ‘No Honk Day’ is indeed a good initiative to raise  the awareness among the citizens, but a reality check on the support functions would be helpful simultaneously.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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