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Basant Rath in valley, finally..

Usually a declaration like this generates a yawn or a grunt of disapproval among the people of Kashmir. But, the declaration made by the top traffic cop on Tuesday, in Srinagar, cannot entirely be dismissed as just some hot air given the cop’s nearly month-long record of enforcing the law when it comes to streamlining the incredibly chaotic traffic on the roads of Jammu and Kashmir.
“I won’t let you (Kashmiri people) down. I will man the traffic. We will have traffic cops at every place where commuters are. Traffic cops will be at Down Town Srinagar because people live there. Some things may take time,” said Basant Rath, the Inspector General of Police (Traffic).Warning the habitual offenders of severe punishment should they break the law, he said he didn’t spare people who drive in expensive cars or the vehicles provided by the government. “It is important that I Challan the luxurious car owners if they violate traffic rules. That encourages others to follow traffic rules and also my cop to implement the law equally on all,” he said.
Basant became a social media sensation when he was seen on video stopping the vehicles ferrying government officials and penalizing them for violating the traffic rules. Speaking to the media in Srinagar, he said he wouldn’t let the people of Kashmir down. “Whatever has happened has happened and during my tenure nothing illegal would happen. During my tenure, ladies will find proper seats in public buses. Drivers will wear proper uniform and there will be proper timing for them,” he said and added that there will be no overloading in the public transport buses from now on.
He urged people to park cars in areas clearly allotted for the purpose and if anyone didn’t comply with this, the offender would be punished. “We always blame narrow roads and lack of parking spaces for traffic congestion. It is only an excuse. You can look at Jammu, how things changed with the same roads and parking lots.”
Basant was all praise for social media and said that there is a dire need for the traffic department to harness its power. “I am active on social media because I come to know about the ground reality. Social media needs to be taken seriously. It has potential to turn a cop into a good policeman,” he said.
He blamed private vehicles hired by the parents’ of school-going children for adding to the traffic mess in Jammu and Kashmir. He said parents need to show more responsibility when it comes to the hiring of vehicles for ferrying children to and from school.
He was a little guarded when a reporter asked him if he would deal with the same fearless attitude with an official violating the traffic rules the way he had done in Jammu. “There is a different security status in Srinagar and I won’t create problems for my friend IG Kashmir. But at the same time I won’t allow anyone to violate traffic rules in the garb of security,” he said. He added that everybody wants others to behave in civic way but doesn’t want himself to behave like that.
Given his impulse to move around incognito, he said: “We have to see what is the object (of doing). See, the level of corruption has come down on highway; I am a spy, I keep an eye. I will sit in a matador (public transport). My mom has not asked me to qualify IAS and have starts on shoulders to sit in public transport. If I will go in uniform, everybody will get alert,” he said.

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