November 30, 2009

Chennai Traffic Police: PR Tip!

Is this a good suggestion for the top cop of Chennai City Traffic Police Shakeel Akhter?
Akhter and his top brass have decided to make changes in the traffic system in the core of Mylapore from this weekend.
This is not an experiment, he says and plays it safe in the streak of officialese. What means is that we have studied the issue, we are introducing the changes and we will take stock of it in say, 30/60/90 days.
Fair enough.
We take it that ideas, suggestions and tips may have have come into Akhter's mail box from schools, shops, Mylaporeans, chatterers and specialists.
When the new system gets going at dawn there is going to be confusion, tempers will rise and motorists and cyclists will probably go in circles till they find their way.
That is expected. And things should fall in place the week after.
Now we have a suggestion for Akhter and his men.
It may also be a nice PR exercise.
Can we have some kiosk-like nooks or bright volunteers from the Traffic Force who will stand at key joints in the area that will endure the changes so that people can share feedback on the spot?
Yes, Akhter has a e-mail ID we can use. The City Police has a suggestion box on its web site which we can also use.
Yes, people can use post cards and inland letters to dash off what in on their mind.
How about live feedback counters?
I have keenly studied similar issues in Alwarpet and in Ashok Nagar.
In Alwarpet, people whined in private. Local police muttered. But it was only when a small group of citizens organised a formal meeting and arranged a formal face to face with the Top Cop did the issue get the attention is required. The system was dropped. And 'Thank You City Police' posters came up!

In Ashok Nagar, police ignored the citizens. They acted tough. But the citizens didn't give up and even planned to take their battle to the Chief Minister's gate. Egos clashed, sparks went off. Finally, the system was withdrawn.

Do we have ways in which key projects for citizens are debated and feedback welcomed and respected?

No comments: