By Srishti Chauhan:
On March 5, 2011 when Rahul Thapa was crushed under the metro, several questions regarding metro rail safety were posed. People were all out attacking the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for negligence towards the lives of metro travelers.
What one fails to understand is the extent of accountability that one expects the organization to bear in case of personal folly. The person in question jumped on the track and tried reaching the platform on the opposite side by crossing the rail tracks. One cannot grant him the benefit of doubt and argue that he may not have known the right way. This is imprudence, to say the least. The fact remains that people do not like following rules. They choose to alter and bend rules as per their convenience and if, as a repercussion, they face trouble, they are quick to blame the authorities.
An extremely simple to understand announcement that one hears while travelling in the metro is to stand behind the yellow line and wait for the train in queue. However, there is always s group of people who choose to ignore the warning and stand ahead of the yellow line- dangerously close to the rail tracks. Standing in such precarious position could easily lead to a catastrophe- a single accidental nudge in the hustle-bustle that is caused by the arrival of the train can send the person crashing down to the tracks… and that might just spell the end of a life.
A similar example can be observed while driving on the roads. There are few people who opt to abide by the traffic light signals and stop before the zebra crossing starts. Inching closer to the other side of the red light, they often completely forget that they are blocking the road for other vehicles for which the light is green. This does not make their travelling any faster. The simple gratification resides in not following regulations.
This flouting of rules is not restricted to the vehicle drivers alone. Pedestrians are rarely seen using the zebra crossing to cross the roads. Putting up one hand in an attempt to signal to the oncoming vehicle to stop, pedestrians fail to understand the massive traffic hazard that they pose to the drivers.
In United States of America (USA) and many European countries, fines are imposed on pedestrians who think of themselves as being above the law and do not follow rules. India, sadly, lacks any such measure to control this traffic hazard.
In Connaught Place, there is subway meant for people to cross roads without facing traffic. However, the subway lies unused and abandoned as it is considered by most to be too much of an effort to climb down a few steps and then climb up again. They’d rather risk their lives and run across the road- putting up a hand to slow down the oncoming automobile.
This lack of rule abiding citizens is felt in the manner that the system operates in the country. Passed on from one generation to the next are the tricks on how to escape from following the rules- not how to appreciate the rules which are made for the safety of oneself.
The pride lies in flouting what the general public is meant to follow. This pseudo sense of superiority that lies in most Indians is the basis of the disorganized structure that India is. A famous quote that underlines the height of disorder that the country lies in is, “God must surely exist for there is no other way to explain how this country still manages to function somehow.”
The urgent need of the hour is to make abiding by the rules absolutely mandatory with no exceptions whatsoever. Nowadays you are required to pay a fine if you stop your vehicle ON the zebra crossing instead of stopping it BEFORE the zebra crossing starts. Similar austere and frugal laws, taking into their sphere pedestrians, vehicle owners, public transport travelers and tourists alike, should be put in place. Hiking the fine rate would probably be the only pinch that is felt by the populace and probably the only thing that will make them understand that following rules is not demeaning… rather it is the path to uplifting of the ways of life.