LIFE

Wanted: bright ideas on traffic umbrellas

VIP dividers at Santhome — will we have equally bright traffic umbrellas?

VIP dividers at Santhome — will we have equally bright traffic umbrellas?  

TRAFFIC IS something that the city police can never wish away. They are at the centre of it, and with each passing day, are actually losing out to the pollution caused by it.

So it is only fair that the police are insulated against the madness that they are expected to control, and which they are not able to with any degree of success. No, this is not about those plastic masks that trap big dust particles but allow the finer ones to settle in the lungs.

This is about new-fangled traffic kiosks and umbrellas. The reports of the Police calling for new traffic umbrella designs, inspired the former DGP, K.R. Shenai, to write in, reminiscing about the origin of the umbrella.

Going by his account, the structure of the past was better designed than some of the present models, being capable of a `tilt' - that would let it be angled against the sun, at different times of day. This black and white cloth umbrella was put together with help from the Armed Reserve Armourer and Carpenter, and tried out in Vellore on the Officers Lines.

Unlike the present, when the police structures themselves become road hazards, the umbrella of old was mounted on wheels and could be moved away to a safe place at night.

Mr. Shenai notes that since then, the umbrellas have been ``developed'' into kiosks with lighting and ``some even with solar power air-conditioning''. Alas, the truth is that the ``solar powered'' wonders never did do well, never could get round to becoming ``A/C'', and thus never attracted the traffic police personnel, who kept a distance from it.

Now that the Government has earmarked some hefty funds to be spent on traffic improvements, there is obviously a fresh move to go in for a new design for umbrellas.

The question that everyone is asking is, will we have a design that is good enough to attract the policeman to stand within?

By Shivakumar S.

Photo: S. Raghunathan

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