I am a US Qualified Registered Microbiologist-Medical Technologist, operating my own Clinical Lab. I have been an activist advocating consumer, civic, citizen's rights for Thirty plus years & a Frequent contributor to the letters to Editor.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Ban honking under existing rules-English

4 May 2010,

Dear Honorable Authorities in power who can do something,

You all are also victims of all these problems facing us 24/7. and you have the powers to make a difference.
Please DO.

Enclosed a request to Ban honking in Bangalore, submitted to prior authorities 3 years ago. without any perceptible results so far.
1) Honking:
The problem has become extremely acute because between then and now almost EIGHT LAKHS (800 per day x 1000 days) have been added in to the unchanged 4,500 kms roads of Bengaluru. These have added almost 1.5 MILLION TONS of pollutants (1500 tons/day) into the air around Bangalore.
Every honk disturbs 8000 individuals at the present rate of population density in Bangalore. Honking has been known to encourage reckless driving rather than being an index of careful driving. No accident has so far occurred due to proven failure to honk. Infact all accidents honking does happen but accidents still occur probably due to recklessness arising out of overconfidence in honking.
The loss of hearing due to high decibel noise is IRREVERSIBLE. It has been grossly magnified by the loud musical/pneumatic/air/4 wheeler like horns on 2 wheelers. All these banned horns should be spot destroyed. ORDERS should be issued to this effect immediately.
The supreme court has already mandated 45-65 db noise levels.
Any honking is in violation of the law. It is grossly fallacious to claim that honking prevents / averts accidents. Everyone does not have to be made a victim 24/7 for the sake of 3 accidents per day which can be averted by slower and safer driving anyway?
Honking can be easily banned under the authority of the supreme court mandate by just an order from the DGP/Commissioner.if nightlife affecting hardly 5 or 10 percent of population can be rigorously controlled under the police act orders/rules, why not provide relief to Millions of citizens 24/7? It just needs an initiative from the right authority.
if someone honks only to avoid an accident they need not be penalized instead of letting millions of people suffer noise pollution and consequent hearing loss mood changes , hypertension, irritability and a host of cascading health problems arising of noise pollution.

2)Autorickshaw/taxi coolie malpractises that damage the city's image:
We the citizens were very pleased to hear of transport minister's initiative to control Auto Rajas ruling the city roads and tarnishing the city image by their rude
behaviour, fleecing commuters by tampered meters and refusal to ply. Strict action has to be ensured by regular penalties instead of specific drives for meter tampering because such drives will just unify these already unionized ruffians who will call for strikes and make the government backoff.
The only way to control them is to WITHDRAW the auto driver license and Autorickshaw permit for 3 or 5 violations. It should be easily trackable with the new generation of computerization. If necessary the government should issue a set of strict instructions regulating driver behaviour with passengers-also linked tothe driver permit- so that any violation should cost the operator's license. This has become very necessary due to the drivers arrogance compunded by their unions.
As a global city Bangalore's image should be brought on par with the rest of the world where such tactics would result in serious penalties.

3) Traffic and IMV act violations: in Bangalore GALORE!
It is routine to see red light jumping, oneway violations, parking violations, slow moving vehicles in the outer most lanes,wheeliing which recently cost lives, cell phone driving, overloaded 2/3 wheelers especially with young innocent children whose lives are endangered. Recently I saw a horrifying one motorcycle with SIX on it- 2 adults 1 kid in between and 3 kids on the gas tank.
Under aged driving, tinted glasses, defective number plates( a new breed of glaring LED number plates combined with reflecting italics small number plates makes identification impossible even from a 3 foot distance of an immobile 2 or 4 wheeler fitted with this kind of number plate.-video attached), kannada only number plates on autos and taxis, no side boards are all designed to evade identification and hence irresponsible behaviour. These tinted glasses and defective plates have become a hallmark of criminal intentions.

The enforcement wings like traffic police, metrology and RTO are mostly understaffed by tired, disinterested and low spirited staff.
Their enforcement reach can be dramatically increased by seeking citizen's cooperation in noting and reporting violations and strict penal action based on that.
Infact the government could go one step further and encourage citizens to report by offering a 25 or 30 percent of the collected fine(in addition over the existing fine amount) as incentive to the good samaritans as done in the western countries. The reach of law would be extended then and compliance will definitely increase. Complacent "No police here" attitude of violators would vanish. One way of encouraging citizen participation is by treating their problems as opportunities for service and not as trouble making or spanners in the machinery.

No New rules are required to bring order to the city and the state.Stricter Enforcement using willing citiaen participation is all that is needed. Authorize the citizens to issue violation notices for traffic.IMVact and BBMPetc. These are all primafacie violations which are self evident and no special knowledge of law is required to notice these violations. Misuse of law by these authorized citizens is another fallacy- as it has never been tried. Now it is time it should be.
Thanking you in anticipation of prompt relief.

M B Nataraj


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