Tired of all the honking, he decided to regulate traffic

Ramachandra B.M., 70, a retired employee of MICO, has been regulating traffic at the Ganesha temple junction near Arakere here for the last five years.

“Commuters used to honk near my house every day. When I couldn't bear the noise any more, I decided to start regulating traffic at the junction,” he said. “Two years ago, a traffic inspector promised to install traffic light at the junction, but that promise was never kept.”

But Mr. Ramachandra says he will not stop until a traffic light is installed.

The decision to regulate traffic himself has not been an easy one. For one, it's not exactly peaceful standing in the middle of the road waving at vehicles. He has faced several health issue, has been shouted at and even dragged by a car in an accident. But Mr. Ramachandra is determined.

‘On duty'

In a pair of shorts and bright orange traffic vest, he steps out of his house at around 7 a.m. for his morning ‘duty', which goes on till about 10.30 a.m. He returns again in the evening at 5 p.m. and regulates traffic till 8.30 p.m.

Mr. Ramachandra's family worries about his health. His wife, Swaramba, says: “He doesn't sit idle. He does this because it makes him happy. We get angry with him sometimes because it takes a toll on his health. But he doesn't listen.”

The 70-year-old joined as a clerk at MICO and worked his way up the ladder, retiring as assistant manager in 2001. He wakes up as early as 4 a.m. and sweeps the lane of his house, picks up plastic and other garbage from the surroundings and puts them in the nearest bin. He then washes the road with water to allow the dust to settle. He started the initiative because his wife was asthmatic.

An autorickshaw driver, who watches Mr. Ramachandra regulating traffic near the junction every day, affectionately calls him ‘thaatha'. “I am really grateful to him. It's because of him that there is smooth flow of traffic at this junction. He keeps two whistles with him all the time. The whistle may stop working, but he doesn't,” he says.