Chaotic Traffic and Citizen Responsibility

We often rightly complain about chaotic traffic on our streets and lawlessness in our society. Hyderabad City is a prime example of both these scourges. All visitors tell us that if you can navigate the Hyderabad traffic successfully, you can drive anywhere in the world without fear! And yet we fail to realize that the problem is not with the police, but with us. We neither seem to care for traffic rules, nor do we take responsibility for our actions.

Isn’t Everyone Equal Under Law ?

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Traffic violations are more the norm than the exception anywhere in India. And in this one area, I am afraid the average citizen is as guilty as the rich and influential.   But that it should make news in our city is by itself newsworthy. So why and how did it make news? It became news because the driver of a Swaraj Mazda van was pulled up by a traffic sub-inspector and given a Rs100/- challan. It also happened that the Mayor himself was traveling in the van! The officer dutifully dropped the challan into the car.  The aghast Mayor promptly called the Joint Commissioner of Traffic.

Perils of Autocentricity

Our urban population is growing dramatically. According to 2001 census, 285 million Indians lived in cities and towns, more than the American population. The residents of large metropolitan areas of Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi now exceed 10 million each; Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad exceed 5 million each. And 35 other metropolitan areas have more than a million residents – almost twice as many as in 1991. Projections show that our urban population would grow to about 473 million in 2021, and 820 million by 2051.