Thursday, August 11th, 2022 02:14:49

“Road Accidents Have 100% Conviction” —Satyendra Garg, Joint Commissioner of Police

Updated: May 19, 2012 4:08 pm

Delhi’s traffic either coming to a standstill or moving at a snail’s pace sends chills down the spine of many driving on city roads. Traffic in Delhi slips out of gear leaving lakhs of commuters heading for their work place stranded; that comes like a bolt out of the blue. The capital city more often than not grapples with unending snarls and bumper-to-bumper jams during peak hour that tell a real tale of woe. The worst comes to the surface right after a mild downpour that brings Delhi to a screeching halt and the Delhizens remain stuck for hours.


The Metro rail has taken a heavy load off the road as it was seen in the beginning but now the chaos has returned with a lot of challenges looming large in the face of both the police and the civic agencies. Mono rail a project underway may thin traffic but then only time will give the real picture. Signal-free crossings, flyovers and clover leaves have alleviated the suffering of the commuters a little but then heavy influx of the NCRs that constantly push about 15 lakh of vehicles across the borderlines impeding the smooth flow of the traffic. Buying a car has become like a walk in the park. Finance is no issue that again adds fuel to the flames. Road users in a tearing hurry do not hesitate to take the law into their own hands and many a time for kicks and that too under the influence. Delhi’s traffic police time and time again keep launching a number of drives to check violation.


Around 800 lives are lost due to road mishaps every year. No check on jaywalking. Bottlenecks again worsen the situation. Blue line buses, BMW and Mercedes cars have a past splattered with blood and gore.


Satyendra Garg, an 87 batch IPS officer, Joint Commissioner of Police with city traffic, in an interview to Uday India’s Syed Wazid Ali speaks on different issues the city roads wrestles with everyday. Excerpts:

Why does the number of road accidents climb up at night?

There are basically two big reasons for road accidents at night: drunk driving and speeding. We have cured this malady to a great extent. Around 2,960 drunk drivers were prosecuted and sent to Judicial Custody (JC). We do not have proper and constantly steady barricades at night but then we are taking this into account.

Police presence thin at night is the culprit of most accidents at night. How do you take it and how can this be checked?

Well, I agree. Such accidents at late night are a serious issue concerning every one of us. But then by and large the police have brought down the number of accidents since 2009. We have beefed up security at night and we are also going to install CCTV cameras at all important points across the city in two or three months. The cameras can record the speed of vehicles during the day and night. Once the installation is complete, we hope that road accidents at night will significantly come down.

On the other hand with only 5,771 traffic policemen, we are not in a position to divide their duties between day and night. Almost the entire force is required to man traffic during the day that includes morning and evening peak hours.

How about those drunk hard behind the wheel of SUVs speeding back from late night parties, clubs and discotheques?

As you know we time and again launch a drive and conduct drills to nail such violators and we are absolutely harsh on them. We slap a challan on the offender found guilty of drunken driving. Besides, the increase in penalty amount will also be a deterrent.

The accused gets away easily from this bailable offence after killing one on the road, do you not think that there should be amendments to Sections 279 and 304A culpable homicide not amounting to murder?

Hon’ble Supreme Court has clearly marked in its guidelines, you see the ruling that such a crime will be dealt with seriously and the accused would be awarded judicial punishment for 10 years.

Why does it amount to weakening prosecution in such cases and why don’t the police take it seriously?

No, I do not buy it. There is 100 per cent conviction in cases of road accidents.

The ostentatious and name dropping Delhi has a culture to throw the weight around driving with a hooter and a beacon light atop cars and SUVs more in vogue. How do you deal with those who flout the traffic rules with impunity? Have you ever taken these vehicles under the radar?

We keep tabs on these cars and we randomly check and prosecute them. Last year only, the police stopped and challaned an IAS official’s private car, a red Hyundai Verna with number plate DL2CAD6904 with a blue beacon. The police impounded the blue beacon under appropriate sections after collecting the fine. We prosecuted about 260 beacon- fitted vehicles last year. No one is above the law.

You have been inviting celebrities to different traffic-related campaigns. How does it help?

This brings more and more people closer whereby we with the help of these celebrities teach and brief them with certain must-abide traffic rules. Road users lack even basic knowledge, such on-road events help them learn. Strap the helmet and belt the seat while driving are such programmes that helped us maintain the safety norms.

Jaywalking is yet another syndrome, many a pedestrian plays fast and loose with scaling over and through the rail bars of a central reservation. Do you prosecute them too?

They jaywalk for certain reasons, like the subway may be a long way from the pedestrian crossing, it may either be poorly lit or unlit. Most times many are infested with beggars and encroachers. Some are dumped with waste and waterlogged which is the job of a civic body.


The traffic in Delhi goes haywire particularly during monsoons. Can there be any cure for this?

Water logging in many low-lying areas brings the traffic to a halt. As seen many a time that breakdown of a vehicle on the road leads to a long pile up on the whole stretch. I say again that we with civic agencies can root the trouble out.

It’s found that the traffic signals going on the blink more often than not. Why is it so?

Sometimes, we do it on our own to manage the heavy flow. This is to avoid long snarl-ups.

Parking problem is a grave issue. On the one hand the tony Khan market and on the other historical bazaars of Chandni Chowk have a heavy footfall but there is a space crunch as there is no adequate parking lot. How do you suggest this can be resolved?

Absolutely, the number of cars has gone up alarmingly that throws us a challenge to manning the traffic smoothly. There is no space left unless the long-awaited proposal of multi-level parking is complete thoroughly.

Metro, flyovers and underpass have failed to contain jams, do you agree?

Yes, but not thoroughly, just imagine there are as many as 70 lakh vehicles running along Delhi roads. In addition to this, 15 lakh more ply in from the NCRs and few lakh are added to the already road-packed traffic burden every year now see what Delhi’s tomorrow is going to be like. This makeover has brought about a change in shedding the load off heavy roads that ran most times of the day but as of now only the peak hour experiences this problem. If the same decorum which was taken in practice during the Common-wealth Games in 2010 is applied in continuance then the situation can be improved. You see if there is a technical glitch hampering the smooth flow of metro traffic. People remain stranded for hours as they depend on the metro rail, what if they spill over to the road; it’s going to be big chaos.

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