K.N. Murali Sankar
Traffic constables and home guards standing for long hours as part of the duty are finding heat and humidity unbearable
VIJAYAWADA: It is an ordeal they cannot escape from. Traffic constables and home guards standing under scorching sun and doing their duty for long hours are finding the heat and humidity unbearable, but there is very little that they can do.
Even as they take precautions like consuming water at regular intervals and scurrying for cover during slack hours of traffic, many constables end up complaining of weakness and headache at the end of the day.
Though their work pressure is not much in the afternoon hours, the constables are expected to be on duty to ensure free flow of traffic on arterial roads and at busy centres. For the last couple of weeks, there is a remarkable drop in the flow of vehicles on the city roads in the afternoon hours, due to rising day temperature and humidity levels. Still, one can see traffic constables standing beneath a tree or in the shade of a high-rise building as part of their duty.
“Though I am used to the city’s summer, it is not very easy to discharge the duty in the afternoon hours. I carry water bottle and prefer to stand beneath a tree when there is not much of traffic,” says P.S. Prakash, a constable in the traffic wing, who completed 26 years of service. He says the saving grace is that the higher ups are not insisting that they stand in the middle of the road or junction when there is no vehicular movement. “Now hardly any vehicle passes between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.,” he observes.
Syed Azam, who has been in the department for the past 10 years, says it is no use standing under the traffic umbrellas made of iron, as they generate more heat. “Luckily, it is the morning and evening hours that are quite hectic for us during summer,” he says.
While some constables rue that there is no concerted plan to provide them any relief, B. Gunaramu, sub-inspector of the traffic wing says instructions are being given regularly to constables asking them to take care of their health.
A few voluntary organisations distributed facemasks and sunscreen lotions to traffic police last year, but there is hardly any such initiative this year.