She also announced that jobs will be given to one member of the families of traffic police personnel as an incentive for performing their duties diligently and managing traffic movement.
While launching the state-wide road safety campaign ‘Safe Drive Save Life’, Banerjee announced a series of guidelines in this direction after stating that “killing someone just due to reckless and rash driving is a crime”.
She said that motorcycle racing on Maa and AJC Bose Road flyovers was often being noticed. Hence, it is safe to restrict the movement of motorbikes on the flyovers. “In case of any emergency, a motorcyclist can take the road beneath the flyover,” Banerjee said, adding that wearing headgears or helmets while riding motorbike is a must.
“One must buy a helmet. But I have seen many times that a section of businessmen utilise the moments the when the government tries to make something mandatory. As we are asking everyone to use helmets, all of a sudden the cost of helmets would go up. It shouldn’t happen,” she said, adding that many may face problem in buying a helmet all of a sudden.
To solve this problem, the state government may extend help in procuring helmets at lower costs. “We can give a time of three months, by which every motorcyclist has to have a helmet,” she said. The Chief Minister stated that it should be made mandatory that helmets are given along with the two-wheelers during their sale.
But in case a person has set out of his house on a two-wheeler in a hurry (for instance, if someone’s family members have been admitted in the hospital), then the police should understand the problem and tackle the situation with a humane approach, she said.
It was, however, intolerable that a person will take someone’s life just because his carelessness, Banerjee noted. The police will have to deal with such situations accordingly. Strict steps would be taken against people committing such crimes.
“Many a times, traffic police are also hit by vehicles when they are on duty on the road. Traffic policemen are the face of the government and their own force. They play a crucial role in keeping the traffic movement normal. Thus, such careless people who drive and ride recklessly should be punished,” said Banerjee.
She also requested the crowd gathered at the campaign to take up a one line resolution ‘no rash driving will be allowed’ and asked them to transform the ‘Safe Drive Save Life’ campaign into a state-wide movement. The move could take West Bengal at the top spot in traffic management.
Citing the example of Panagarh, the Chief Minister said that every day road accidents claim lives in the area when people return from Tarapith. Superintendents of Police (SPs) of the districts were asked to take necessary steps to check road accidents.
“Traffic management in districts gets neglected as SPs remain busy with other tasks, like maintaining law and order and detection of crime. But they have to keep in mind that law and order situation will improve with the improvement in traffic management. Surveillance cameras have to be installed at necessary locations in districts as well. Other departments will help the police to set up the surveillance cameras,” Banerjee said.
Observing that plying of overloaded trucks is a major issue, especially in districts, she said that stringent measures will be taken against trucks plying illegally with over loaded goods and policemen should not give importance to their personal vested interest. Instead, they must act for the benefit of the state and its people.
Monitoring committees, comprising senior police officers in each and every district, will be formed to check regular improvement of traffic management. There will be a chapter in the school textbooks to teach students about road safety and traffic management.
The theme song of the ‘Safe Drive, Save Life’ campaign will be played at traffic intersections. The theme song and posters for the same will be displayed all across the state.
Talking about the situation in Sikkim, Banerjee said that vehicles from Bengal are not allowed to ply in the state. “It would not be right to restrict entry of vehicles from other states. But, we can impose a registration fee that a vehicle has to pay to enter the state. It will be good earnings for the state government and at the same time a record of the vehicles will be maintained that can be required for detection of any crime,” she said.
Banerjee further said that steps to set up e-rickshaw and bicycle factories in the state will be taken.