For warden of wheels, road safety is a life mission

The panoramic recognition due, in due course of time, came his way in 2000 in the form of the National Award for Road Safety.

Published: 30th October 2022 05:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th October 2022 05:21 AM   |  A+A-

Balakrishnan at a road safety awareness camp for school students | Sriram R

Express News Service

PUDUCHERRY: Pudumai Balakrishnan orchestrated a handsome portion of his life to the boulevard blink of three lights.A sudden gleam of red here, switch to a greenish glow afterwards and the wink of yellow in between, traffic on the easy-going streets and crossroads of Puducherry flexed to the beat of the transitioning stoplights on every intersection as a wave of caution swept across the faces of traffic rogues.

For there he was, the warden of wheels, Puducherry’s showboat of traffic ethics and guidelines, rigged out in white and navy blue and spacewalking through the roads to ward them off adrenaline-driven drifts and mishaps.

The journey of medians and zebra lines moulded out in 1991 for Balakrishnan. He was employed at a multinational company in Puducherry until that fine, leafy morning in the spring of the year when the thought to channel his career to civil force flashed out on him like a thunderstorm. Under a voluntary scheme, he joined the Puducherry police force as a special police officer, and, since then, there was no looking back for him.

After gaining hands-on experience in various wings, Balakrishnan, in 1994, landed up in the traffic wing tasked with the duty of assisting other officials during peak hours.Four years down the line, he was promoted to the post of chief traffic warden, and over the course of three decades, over 1.5 lakh people have benefited from his traffic awareness classes. Of the count, 35,000 are from the union territory alone.

Fastened to zebra crossing and traffic signal models, Balakrishnan makes sure that each of his awareness programmes embrace some sort of a novel characteristic. He even distributes prizes as a token of motivation to the participants of his classes.

The panoramic recognition due, in due course of time, came his way in 2000 in the form of the National Award for Road Safety. Balakrishnan was honoured with State awards, in 1992 and 2016, too, for the services he extended to night beat, traffic control and general elections.

With his traffic awareness classes, the crossroad craftsman is going places - Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal to name a few. “Since traffic and road safety laws are kinda the same in these countries, I was able to smoothly conduct the camps and transfer ideas. Even nationals of other countries are well aware of the road safety laws here,” Balakrishnan says.

In 2018, Balakrishnan’s career was yet again airlifted as the Government of Puducherry appointed him as the resource person for road safety awareness programmes in schools, colleges and government institutes.
More to say, this year the International Human Rights Organisation, an NGO, appointed him as the National Director for Road Safety. He also takes classes on road safety for TNSETC drivers.
“My efforts add up to maybe a single brick in the construction of an accident-free society,” Balakrishnan adds.


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