Mumbai: Traffic Police Ensuring Road Safety Amid Soaring Temperatures

Mumbai: Traffic Police Ensuring Road Safety Amid Soaring Temperatures

While wiping off sweat and drinking water, several personnel shared their challenges and also spoke to The Free Press Journal about what keeps them going.

Aishwarya IyerUpdated: Sunday, April 21, 2024, 04:24 AM IST
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Vijay Gohil

While we continue to look for cover amid the prevailing scorching temperatures in Mumbai, the city traffic police personnel brave the heatwave to ensure smooth vehicular flow and check on illegal parkings. Undeterred by the sizzling mercury, these personnel diligently perform their duties, while taking precautions to keep heat stroke at bay. Huge umbrellas, sun-protective tents with portable fans, ample supply of water bottles and avoidance of carbonated drinks make up the arsenal against the scalding heat. Mumbai experienced the hottest days in April, with the temperatures crossing an unbearable 39.7 degrees Celsius and peaking to 40 degree Celsius mark.

The Free Press Journal went around the city to know how the traffic cops endure the unprecedented rise in mercury, while guarding the city roads. While wiping off sweat and drinking water, several personnel shared their challenges and also spoke about what keeps them going. One of the major problems is unavailability of washrooms.

A traffic cop deployed at the Sion junction said, “It’s a daily struggle to locate washrooms as we are constantly moving from one spot to another. Yes, we are drinking ample water to keep ourselves hydrated, but non-availability of toilets has been a major problem for many years.” In the Kandivali area too, cops face the same issue. “We sometimes use washrooms at local restaurants or malls. We are managing somehow,” said a cop with determination. “Mumbaikars are very sweet. When they see us at junctions or signals, they offer water bottles or something to eat. Their spirit is what keeps us going,” he added.

Traffic Police Preparedness And Precautions During Heatwaves

A senior traffic police official deployed in the South Mumbai region said, “The city's peak hours are only during the morning and evening, which makes it a bit easy for us. The movement of traffic is slow and smooth during the afternoon hours, except when there are VVIP movements. No heatwave or rain can dampen the call of duty.” Every traffic division has riders, who are bike-borne traffic cops doing round ups, and attending calls and alerts. “They have been instructed to take intermittent rest under a tree or some shade. Keeping themselves hydrated is a basic instruction,” the official added.

Like every year, the traffic department has passed instructions to the on ground staff, asking them to strictly follow precautions like not falling to the temptation of carbonated drinks. A senior cop said, “Carbonated drinks do provide a temporary relief from the heat, but dehydrate the body. Some officers have the tendency to go for cold drinks. However, we have told them it's off limits. Instead, we advise them to drink room temperature water. We have loaded chowkies, tents and traffic offices with water bottles and asked our officers to carry them all the time.”

Guidelines For Health And Safety Amid Rising Temperatures

Last year, the Joint Commissioner of Police (traffic) had issued a directive stating that the traffic police officials above 55 and those suffering from blood pressure issues, diabetes and heat sensitivity should not be deployed for field duty in the afternoon. The directive, an annual routine order, has been passed this year as well. “We have over 300 plus traffic personnel, including those beyond 50 years of age and those who suffer from serious ailments. The instructions have been given deploy them for office-related tasks or work ṭhat can be undertaken during the morning or evening hours and even night duty,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic, east region) Raju Bhujbal. He added that there are around 60-70 such personnel in his zone, who have been given some respite on human grounds.

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