Stop says the red light, go says the green. Get ready says the amber light, blinking in between ' this is a rhyme that pre-nursery children of the capital can teach traffic police and state road construction department.
Traffic lights have gone crazy in the capital that looks all set to become a leading sports hub of the east. Back-to-back events such as the ODI, Hockey India League matches and the upcoming Celebrity Cricket League means that VIP tourist and media traffic to the city has increased.
But traffic lights ' there are around 10 signal posts in the city ' seem satisfied with just working. There is no need to work in sync.
"When it glows, it keeps on glowing," said a lady traffic constable deputed at Sarjana Chowk. On Tuesday around 11am, she was huffing and puffing to ease off traffic as the amber light on both the posts were glowing simultaneously.
"These are ghostly lights," she said. "We can't leave commuters on their own."
The problem got rectified on its own after a few minutes. Seemed the ghosts were tired of their pranks.
The pranks that the lights play are numerous. Green and amber lights blink together. Green switches over to red before commuters from one way can cross over. The amber light, which gives time to clear off the in-between traffic, does not work most of the time.
"Sudden problems develop, causing the worst traffic snarls," said dentist Vishal Bhagat, who narrowly escaped collision with a bike on Monday evening when the green signal at Jail More turned red before time. "Traffic lights at Radium Road, Ratu Road and Jail often show waiting time. But when the time is not shown, the red light keeps on glowing longer than the green."
When contacted, traffic superintendent of police Chandrashekhar Prasad did not beat about the bush.
"All the traffic lights are faulty. I do not even remember the number of times we have given written complaints to the authorities concerned regarding the problem. It seems our requests have fallen on deaf ears," he said.
Proper servicing of traffic signals was last done in 2011 when the state had called in a Bangalore-based firm.
State road construction department executive engineer Umesh Kumar Sinha, in charge of monitoring the installation and maintenance of traffic lights, said he had conducted a review meeting "just four days ago".
"I was not told of any problem. Servicing of many traffic lights is going on based on prior complaints," he said.
He excused problems saying they might have occurred due to solar panels not getting properly charged due to "cloudy weather". When reminded that Monday was sunny, not cloudy, Singh quickly replied: "I need to re-check with the people servicing the lights."
With traffic police blaming the state department and the latter's official blaming the vagaries of weather, everyday is chaos for commuters, pedestrians and constables. From traffic snarls to road rage to accidents, crazy lights trigger serious lawlessness.
There are other offbeat problems too.
Crayons Montessori School on Kanke Road has put off its Traffic Week project for pre-nursery students simply because the cradle administration can't find a single properly functioning set of traffic lights for a live demo.
School vice-principal Vandana said they taught children the rhyme about traffic lights. "But road reality doesn't rhyme with the rhyme," she rued.