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Citizen ‘cops’ use mobiles, Twitter to nab traffic offenders

New Delhi, July 2 (Calcutta Tube) Big Brothers are watching… and reporting traffic violations on Facebook and Twitter. Recalling the Orwellian era with new age tools, citizens in the capital have armed themselves with cellphone cameras to assist the Delhi Traffic Police (DTP) in nabbing offenders by posting pictures on social networking sites.

DTP had joined Twitter and Facebook last month to network better with the public and to seek help in improving traffic in the city in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games. And it has already issued over 100 notices for violations, or challans, based on the pictures posted on the sites.

One month on and DTP has 8,000 Facebook fans, who daily upload photographs of offenders with the date, time and place. It has around 800 followers on Twitter.

‘It’s a big success. We get a lot of suggestions, complaints and comments,’ Ajay Chadha, special commissioner of police (Traffic), told IANS.

Chadha himself replies to some of the queries posed by the people.

‘We have received around 400 complaints of people violating traffic rules till now and have prosecuted over 100 people. The rest didn’t provide us with the required details like day, time and place,’ added a DTP official.

With so many ‘assistants’ roaming around the city, offenders should not be surprised to get a notice for a violation committed when they thought no traffic cop was around.

So, if you have a fancy number plate or are in the habit of jumping red lights, parking in ‘no parking zones’ and driving recklessly, remember that alert citizens are always on the watch.

Like Vibhu Bansal, a 35-year old software developer, who has uploaded numerous pictures of vehicles sporting fancy number plates and tinted glasses. It was a rewarding experience, she says, because traffic police prosecuted the offenders swiftly.

‘The response has been fantastic so far from traffic police.’

According to Bansal, as a citizen of the country he needs to be proactive and help the authorities instead of always expecting them to help him.

‘Delhi Traffic Police has taken the first step and we will definitely reciprocate. I hope other departments and various public agencies also launch similar initiatives,’ Bansal told IANS.

Ashish Kripalani, a final year chartered accountancy student, also did his bit by uploading photographs of people riding two-wheelers without wearing a helmet. Police prosecuted the offenders the next day itself.

The 23-year-old says it feels great to do something for the city but that even this initiative might not be enough.

‘There is urgent need to prosecute those who violate traffic rules as they put their own as well as the other person’s life in jeopardy. But I am not sure if this will help. I feel even after issuing challans a majority of the violators will continue breaking rules.’

(Rahul Vaishnavi can be contacted at rahul.vaishnavi@yahoo.co.in)

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