A 30-year-old traffic constable, who has been manning the busy Nantoor Circle for nearly a month, is not comfortable using masks issued by a pharmaceutical company.

The smell that comes out after having worn the mask for a few minutes causes him a lot of discomfort. He is comfortable doing his job wearing a handkerchief over his face. This is the general opinion of traffic constables about the use of masks.

Last month, the pharmaceutical company gave around 150 specially-designed masks to traffic constables. Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic) G.V. Subramanya claimed that these masks were given after a trial was done. These masks, given by the pharmaceutical company, were among the many masks that had been issued to the police so far.

S. Bangera, a constable posted at the Hampankatta Circle, said the new masks were heavy and ill-designed. “Smoke seeps through the mask,” he said. To avoid this, Mr. Bangera said, he had to wear a handkerchief over his face and then put on the new mask when he first started to use the mask. The design of the new mask was the other thing that made it the object of dislike, Mr. Bangera said. “It looks as if we are wearing an oxygen mask,” he said.

Wilson, another constable, said that the need for wearing masks was felt while manning busy and dusty traffic junctions like Nantoor and Kulai. “It is difficult to stand even for a few minutes without a mask at Nantoor Junction,” he said. Mr. Wilson, who has been in the force for nearly five years, said the masks had not helped them so far. “We need to make use of the whistle to control the traffic here. We are quite comfortable doing our duty by wearing a handkerchief over the face,” he said. Mr. Wilson said he, however, carried the mask everyday.

Agreeing with the problems faced by the traffic police, Mr. Subramanya said they could not stop organisations from providing masks. “They are providing them free of cost. We cannot prescribe specifications (to organisations),” he said.

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