Urgently needed: Masks
By Lekshmi Mohan | ENS | Published: 09th November 2013 12:22 PM |
Standing long hours in the middle of thousands of noisy and polluting vehicles without any proper protective gear is not an easy task. Defying the heat, dust and rain, the traffic personnel are doing a great job to keep the city on the move.
A traffic policeman’s job is obviously a physically demanding and mentally challenging one. These constables, who draw around Rs 14,500 per month, work in shifts of nine to ten hours. In some cases, their duty extends up to 12 hours, though their shift timings are from 8 am to 2 pm and from 2 pm to 9 pm.
Only bus shelters and trees offer some protection to these poor souls; no matter what the weather is. In most of the important traffic junctions where there are no signal lights, there are no umbrellas either. And in many cases, the cops strive hard to manage the traffic even where signals are operational. Most of the policemen suffer from hypertension and diabetes caused by stress.
During summer, many complain of skin irritation. In fact, this tough job takes a big toll on their health.
“For the past several years, I have been suffering from a breathing problem and skin irritation too. Even then, I have to regulate traffic movement in the scorching heat,’’ said a 45-year-old traffic personnel who didn’t want to be named.
Apart from these work pressures, many traffic cops complain that do not get enough time to spend with their families.
Things take a turn for the worse when there is a technical hitch and the automated traffic signals do not function.”We have to be in the middle of the busy road to regulate traffic. I suffer from asthma and the dust makes matters worse”, said another traffic constable.
Assistant Commissioner of Traffic (South) P Mohanan said top officials are aware of the problems the cops face. He said that to check the health issues of these cops, health camps are being organised regularly. “All other facilities are provided by sponsors and the department is not involved. In case of the mask, again some sponsors supply the cops with these,” he said.
Many of the cops City Express contacted unanimously said that the Police Department should give priority to providing proper care to traffic police personnel, who have to encounter different kinds of people every day. ‘’The officials should at least provide us the masks. And traffic umbrellas need to be set up at least at major junctions,’’ they said.