Kolkata police to launch no-honk drive in school zones
Starting Monday, special units of Kolkata Traffic Police, like the
anti-pollution cell and the special raid section, will begin one of its most
ambitious drives this year — prosecuting vehicles violating any form of the
honking rule in the school sector. Cops said that while the immediate aim
of the drive is to provide respite to students sitting for their Board exams
from Monday, the final aim is to restore the importance of no-honking in
the city’s silent zones.
“The children have a right to grow up in a healthy way,” will be the motto
of the drive, said senior officers at Lalbazar. “Honking doesn’t speed up
traffic, and, apart from being illegal around schools, it is socially uncouth,”
said DC (traffic) Arijit Sinha.
“The anti-honking drive is a year-long campaign. But we had not required it, especially outside schools, during the enhanced restrictions when educational institutes were shut. However, when public transport gradually normalized, we found motorists having a lower patience level. It has been most visible in the past week outside schools when everyone came to drop off their wards. We received several complaints and decided to launch special drives,” said an officer from the AP Cell at Lalbazar that
led the drive outside schools last Friday that led to 38 prosecutions.
Action is being taken under the West Bengal Motor Vehicle Rules and Motor Vehicles Act. “We are trying to tell drivers not to honk without reason. In Kolkata, people are prone to honk, but rarely use them at the crossings. It is seen as a tool for overtaking. We are trying to change this mindset, even if the fine amount is negligible,” said an officer.
The most honking-prone zones in the city, besides the Sealdah-Amherst Street-College Street-MG Road educational institute zone, include the Hastings area with an average 176 cases a month, and the Taratala-Majerhat area with around 122 cases a month. Shyambazar, with 165 cases, and Park Street-Park Circus zone, with 98 cases, also reported many violations this year. Both areas have several schools.
Several reputable Kolkata schools welcomed the police move. “Kolkata Police is very helpful in conducting smooth traffic flow during the exams. However, many people lack civic sense and in spite of the fines, they continue to honk unnecessarily. We maintain posters in front of the schools requesting passing cars to avoid honking,” said Supriyo Dhar, secretary, La Martiniere.
Some schools have decided to support the police move in their own way. “Right after the pandemic, the tendency to honk has increased. I think drivers are overwhelmed by seeing so many vehicles and pedestrians after so long. The noise pollution could be very disturbing for students taking their Board exams. As a solution, our school has decided some of our staffers will put up a board in front of our school asking drivers to maintain silence during exams,” said Sujoy Biswas, principal, Rammohan Mission School.