Power cuts put them on the blink and add to chaos; traffic police personnel forced to operate system manually
Early this year, the duration of load-shedding in the state was increased to two hours from an hour by the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO). This is not only causing irritation to those staying at home, but also to those on the road including traffic policemen.
There are about 500 junctions and 270 signals in the city. According to a traffic policeman, three bulbs, each of around 60 watts, are part of the signals. The supply to the signals is from the nearest transformer through underground cables. But these signals do not work when the power supply is cut during load shedding in different areas.
Due to this, policemen are forced to manually control traffic flow in the scorching heat at many signals. Motorists feel that this not only adds to the traffic chaos, but can also result in accidents sometimes. “During peak hour it is a headache, as motorists are in a hurry to reach office,” said a traffic constable posted at Nungambakkam.
Each locality faces the problem at a different time, according to the load-shedding schedule. R. Ganesan, a resident who travels from his house in Tambaram to his office in Egmore, says he has to pass 15 signals every day. “When policemen regulate traffic manually, no one bothers to follow it during peak hours. This causes traffic snarls. It takes more than 3 hours to reach office,” he said.
Even pedestrians suffer when the signals do not work during load shedding. “Two months ago, I was waiting near Ripon Buildings to cross the road. But as the signal was not working due to load shedding, the policemen were manually managing the traffic. He was allowing only the vehicles to pass. Finally I had to request him and cross the road,” said S. Anbudoss, who works in a private firm in Egmore.
Policemen also suffer when the signals do not work. “We have to waste manpower and suffer abuses from motorists in case we hold one side for a longer time,” said a policeman at Chetpet. To manage the situation to an extent, on arterial roads, the traffic police are using solar-powered signals. “We have 17 such signals,” said a senior traffic police official.