|Traffic police check vehicles on North Main Road on Sunday evening
It’s not a good idea to floor the gas pedal the next time you exit that Koregaon Park pub or lounge onto North Main Road. For, when you’re busy getting buzzed, traffic police teams will put in a strong presence at key points to ensure that drink driving and speeding won’t go unchecked.
The police is concentrating mainly on Friday and Saturday nights, when partying peaks in the tony locality. While their duty finishes at 9.30 pm on other days of the week, they will be extending their work hours till 2 am on these two nights. Speaking to Mirror, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Vishwas Pandhare said after studying the scenario late at night, traffic police decided to maintain a bandobast on the Koregaon Park roads.
“There are many restaurants, bars, pubs and other eateries, which serve liquor to their customers. A majority of their patrons are residents of other parts of the city and come down to Koregaon Park for food or for drinks,” he said. This, he explained, leads to an increase in the vehicle influx into the neighbourhood, especially on North Main Road.
“During a drive conducted by us in the area, it was found that there were more cases of drink driving in Koregaon Park, even on normal nights, compared to other areas,” Pandhare said, adding, “This forced the police to focus on this area and the need for special bandobast on weekend nights was felt.”
This bandobast would include two officers of the rank of assistant inspector and sub-inspector and a posse of 10 constables, who will maintain a vigil on North Main Road along with the night patrol teams of the Koregaon Park and Mundhwa police stations.
|Police check for drink driving at a bandobast on North Main Road
“Police presence is required there to avoid drink driving mishaps. The number of cases registered in the area in the last two months is high when compared to other areas such as Camp and Chandni Chowk.
Mere police presence on the roads inhibits rash driving by the drunk drivers. We have caught many drivers in last two weeks,” he added. Another problem they are looking to address are the vehicles, especially four-wheelers, parked in front of the hotels, pubs and resto-bars on either side of North Main Road that narrow down the carriage width and cause traffic jams on Friday and Saturday nights.
These jams have a cascading effect, in that they create traffic chaos in nearby Kalyani Nagar and Mundhwa. Besides this bandobast, two police officers and two constables have been deployed with jammers and tow vehicles to check vehicles parked in front of hotels and other commercial establishments in the area. Last Saturday night, police took action against 11 motorists for parking in no-parking zones, drink driving and other offences.
► It was found there are more cases of drink driving in Koregaon Park even on normal nights, as compared to other areas
- Vishwas Pandhare DCP (Traffic)
‘Rash driving, bratty behaviour: That's the new KP’
Qaneez Sukhrani, civic activist
The once beautiful, quiet and nearly empty lanes of Koregaon Park have turned into one big party place and a venue for people to drive down and have fun. Koregaon Park, as many will remember, once consisted only of four lanes. I don't know when and why the other lanes came to be or why they are considered to be the same area.
I have a point to make here: In 1921, the Collector of Pune, acting on behalf of the then State of Bombay had formulated a plan for Koregaon Park. In the said plan, 122 plots were demarcated with a minimum area of one acre each.
All these plots were leased out on a long-term basis. That year itself, the ‘Collector’s Rules’ were also brought into force under Section 37 of the Bombay Land Revenue Code, 1879, for governing activities in Koregaon Park. Thereafter, on February 15, 1950, Koregaon Park was included within the limits of the Pune Municipal Corporation and the Collector’s Rules were incorporated into the final revised development plan.
This area was earmarked as a model colony and preserved as a park area and a prominent residential area in Pune. Here, some of the oldest bungalows in the city were situated in the four wide parallel lanes between North and South Main Road that made up Koregaon Park.
What happened later was that builders and politicians with vested interests invaded Pune and rules were flouted blatantly. Every bit of available space and any construction that came up in them even beyond those four lanes was also called Koregaon Park. It was an address which sold easily.
The Osho Commune helped to dilute the serene environs of this area and got in migrants who did not care to preserve the way KP used to be. In time, pubs and nightclubs came up even in Mundhwa, further disturbing the idyllic atmosphere.
This is a classic example of unplanned development coupled with unsustainable construction. On a more personal note, I would like to add that parents are equally to be blamed for rash driving, drink driving accidents and the general bratty behaviour seen in the area.
The influx of pubs or restaurants can’t be solely blamed for the change. As citizens, we need to realise our boundaries and act accordingly. Parents cannot keep showering students with money just to compensate their own absence. Kids need to earn it and value it. I am not the moral police, but yes, you need to check the way you are bringing up your children.
- As told to Anjali Shetty