'Policing' them Young

  • Barnali Dutta / FG
  • India
  • Jun 05, 2015

Like they say, ‘catch them young’. At a Road Safety Camp in the City, 140 students from a cross-section of local schools (private and govt.) will undergo training (in batches) on: road safety rules, specific laws that define road safety and measures to be taken to ensure that that both people and vehicles remain safe on the roads. This week the first batch underwent the combination of classroom and practical training, wherein students were exposed to real life situations. Working hand-in-hand with the Traffic Police, the children are expected to prepare a report on the actual status of safety precautions on the roads, adding their comments on the inadequacies. The entire exercise had the excitement of a real life situation, because the school kids were allowed to point out traffic offences, which led to challans being issued to the offenders by the Traffic Police. The Road Safety Camp was in many ways a revelation for the school kids, who got the opportunity to understand some of the civic and social responsibilities of every citizen. It was a basic lesson on the need for commuters to adhere to traffic and safety rules, along with an understanding of the consequences of them not doing so. The participants were given kits as study material. While it is quite convenient for us to almost always criticise police officials, the ‘reality’ on the road was a revelation for the school kids. “We would never have understood the difficulties that the police officers face while on the roads, dealing with the unruly traffic and the different kinds of rule breakers. The hot summer months are a particularly strenuous time for the Traffic Police,” said Akhil Arora, a student of a private school. Aks Singh, of Heritage School, said that he would have preferred to take training in self-defence, which is also a part of the programme. He was not amused at being compelled by his parents to participate in the ‘outdoor activity’. Dhrub, another student of the same school, said, ”Learning the various rules and regulations and then assisting the Traffic Police has been a great experience.” He is eagerly looking forward to submitting his report, which he intends to be a PowerPoint presentation. Kavita and Divya, of Jharsa Government Secondary School, seemed very happy to attend the Camp. Both the girls found the training on road safety, and particularly on self-defence, very useful. The Safety Camp is being ably supported by a number of Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), such as WESS, Times Institution and EMBARQ, and of course by individual Road Safety Officers (RSOs). Maruti has also provided useful support to the entire campaign. The Company unveiled a specially developed comic book on Road Safety, for children. 

Photo: Prakhar Pandey

To make the learning more interesting, one police officer has been selected as the ‘Tau’, in the best of Haryana tradition. A ‘Tau’, or the elder brother of a child’s father, is a most respected figure in the State. He is also looked up to for advice. Virender Singh Balhara, a member of the Haryana Police, has been named the ‘Tau’ of the entire campaign. His task involves teaching the kids traffic rules and various other regulations that pertain to safety on the roads. The Tau’s visits have helped create huge awareness of traffic safety rules among the children of the State. Balhara said, “I joined the police force long ago, and though I am not highly educated I love this job, wherein I can educate children on traffic and safety rules and regulations. I believe this Camp and the campaign will also help reinforce their basic morals, which sometimes we all forget in our busy lives.“ The children will also visit the Sector 29 Police Station and the Police Training Center at Bhondsi, as well as getting more first hand experience of managing road traffic. 

They will present their learnings on the last day, through various mediums - like PowerPoint presentations, nukkad nataks or songs. The Road Safety summer camp for students was inaugurated by Navdeep Singh Virk, Commissioner of Police, Gurgaon, at Traffic Tower, A Block, Sushant Lok -1, along with Bharti Arora, Jt. Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Saurabh Singh, Jt. Commissioner of Police and representatives from Maruti.


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