NEW DELHI: The driver of the Blueline bus, which mowed down an 11-year-old boy in Badarpur on Saturday, taking the toll to 100, has been arrested. He was arrested on Sunday evening by the Badarpur police station where a case of death due to rash and negligent driving has been registered against him. (Times of India, 29 October 2007)
Delhi’s been seeing blue for quite some time now. A blue monster is loose on the streets, eating anyone and anything that came in its path. Much (and a very valid) hue and cry has already been raised on this subject. The death toll is increasing and we need to control the situation. As a regular passenger, who has suffered like others during the blue-line strikes, my attempt here is to add another perspective.
I agree that the blue-line drivers are rash (also un-educated, rude & uncouth if I may add), but we need to take some of the blame too. I commute from Okhla to Karol Bagh everyday, and everyday I see people hanging on the buses from all possible sides. Some think they are dare-devils and get their kicks in life by doing so. Some – like the children in the above picture – are trying to save a few rupees. Some just don’t find space beyond the footrest of the bus because it is already splitting at its seams with 160 odd passengers. Every single one of these people are requested by the conductors of the buses to step inside. But all of these people and many more continue to adamantly ignore him and travel the same way every single day. Given the traffic situation in Delhi, the speed of the buses and the precarious position in which these people are dangling, who is to be blamed if one of them slips and is ‘Mowed Down’? The bus driver? The traffic policeman? Parents of these children? Bystanders like me and many others who quietly see this everyday and just honk for the bus to get out of our way? Are we really saying that someone else is responsible for our lives?
All of us see this happening every day. All we contribute to the situation is a couple of tsks. Maybe like the many other wrongs happening on the streets of Delhi, this one is also to be blamed on the government. The government in turn increases the challan and threatens to stop the blue-lines completely. The bus drivers panic and woo the local traffic policemen in their favour by bribing them with 200 rupees every fortnight (that’s the going rate I believe, though it differs for blue-lines, chartered buses and trucks). The thula (traffic policeman) of course is then ‘morally’ bound to ignore the antics of these monsters. The result is the great big khichdi we call the bad ‘traffic situation’ of Delhi. But ye to regular hai na … Sab chalta hai, Take it easy!!!