Traffic control not a mundane job for this ‘dancing home guard’

Home guard M.J. Thomas controlling traffic at a busy intersection at North Paravur in Ernakulam district.

Home guard M.J. Thomas controlling traffic at a busy intersection at North Paravur in Ernakulam district.

A motorist passing through a traffic junction within the North Paravur police station limits is likely to stop out of curiosity if M.J. Thomas, a home guard, happens to be on traffic duty.

His swift and balletic movements come across more like a graceful dance performance than the mundane job of regulating traffic. No wonder, the 51-year-old is a celebrity of sorts with the videos of his signature style going viral on social media.

But it wasn’t like this when he started off 12 years ago as a home guard shortly after retiring from the Border Security Force following 20 years of service. “In the early years, the vehicle population was less and normal methods were sufficient. But then the density of vehicles surged and I had to increase my pace proportionately and that culminated in the present style in a course of three to five years. I believe that when you are committed, you evolve methods on your own that the job demands,” said an affable Mr. Thomas who is always seen with a smile on his face.

Motorists staring at him and even appreciating his work is nothing new to him, not to mention the countless recognitions he has received over the years. He had also been invited to hold classes on traffic in educational institutions.

Mr. Thomas alternates between three busy junctions in North Paravur town of which KMK Junction poses the biggest challenge owing to its complex ‘X’ shape as vehicles crisscross the junction in a peculiar angle demanding pacy traffic management. The narrowness of the road doesn’t help either.

“The traffic signal is of little use as it was found to have caused traffic chaos in the extended town. So usually the signal is switched off and is replaced by manual management,” said Mr. Thomas.

He remains on duty for six hours daily except on days he is on off. Regular motorists along the area vouch that the ‘dancing home guard’ ensures that there is no traffic hold-ups even during peak hours.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2022 9:19:00 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/traffic-control-not-a-mundane-job-for-this-dancing-home-guard/article65575659.ece