Various works being taken up on many busy road stretches in the city have been causing inconvenient diversions of vehicular traffic. Adding to the problem had been the heavy rain for over a week.
The traffic police, hamstrung by staff shortage and lack of equipment, have been finding it difficult to regulate traffic.
The diversions for widening the Main Central Road stretch from Mannanthala to Paruthippara and the works under the City Road Improvement Project on the Vazhayila-Peroorkada-Kowdiar, the Attakulangara-Eenchakkal and the Model School-Thampanoor stretches have posed fresh challenges to them.
Vehicles are being diverted from the Mannanthala junction through the Mukkola-Vayalikkada stretch to Paruthippara.
Traffic police and Home Guards personnel and traffic wardens have been posted at the junctions at Paruthippara, Nalanchira, Mannanthala, Mukkola and Vayalikada. But traffic snarls are a regular feature, as the stretch is congested and narrow.
The deleterious effects of all these are felt as far as Ambalamukku and Kuravankonam junctions through which motorists enter the city from the Main Central Road gateway. The traffic personnel have a tough time during peak hours.
With the beginning of the Sabarimala pilgrimage season in November, the traffic authorities will have to marshal all their resources to allow the passage of pilgrims' vehicles that come from as far as Tamil Nadu to Main Central Road.
Traffic along the Eenchakkal junction has been hampered as the road leading to Attakulangara has been blocked for road works.
The delay in filling the potholes near the mouth of the road leading to West Fort and near the roundabout adds to the woes.
Only Home Guards are posted here.
The police are now forced to post traffic wardens and Home Guards men near Spencer, Statue, Pulimoodu and Ayurveda College junctions, as one side of the arterial Mahatma Gandhi Road at these points have been dug up for laying utility ducts.
Sixty-six points in the north traffic sub-division and 58 in the south are being manned, which alone requires 248 constables.
In addition, many constables will be on court duty, some will have to take weekly off during the weekdays and some others will be on medical leave.
The traffic police are forced to man the traffic points and take up the additional jobs with the depleted staff strength.
Road users say the authorities should ensure that at least a traffic policeman is posted at every key junction. A senior traffic police official says at least a traffic policeman will be posted with the traffic wardens and the Home Guards deployed at every busy junction and work site.
The city traffic police north and south sub-divisions together have a sanctioned strength of two assistant commissioners, two circle inspectors, 14 sub-inspectors, 71 head constables and 255 constables. The staff strength was last revised in 1994.
Eighty-eight Home Guards were deployed last year.
“Creating requisite infrastructure and providing personnel commensurate with the increase in traffic volume are yet to get priority. The demand for increasing the staff strength is yet to materialise. We are forced to run the show with the depleted staff strength,” he said.
Going by the increasing traffic volume and the expanding city limits with the number of Corporation wards going up to 100, the traffic wing needs at least four sub-divisional officers, four circle inspectors, 40 sub-inspectors, 40 assistant sub-inspectors, 280 head constables and 1,000 constables and towing and recovery vehicles and modern equipment.
Off the streets
The shortage has hit enforcement and except at two busy traffic points, traffic policemen withdraw from the streets at 8 p.m. once the second shift ends.
The demand for manning all busy points at least till 9.30 p.m. has been pending for long.