Saturday, September 06, 2014

Seminarians assist Traffic Police

By Shevlin Sebastian

Those who pass through Aluva on certain days will see young men in white T-shirts (with an orange logo, 'Road Safety'), black trousers and blue caps directing the traffic. Most will assume they are traffic wardens. But these youngsters are students of the St. Joseph's Pontifical Seminary at Mangalapuzha. 

And twenty of them have been assisting the policemen during peak hours twice a week for the past several days: between 8 to 11 a.m. on Thursdays, and from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturdays. They stand at the Paravur, Pulinchode, and Bypass junctions, apart from busy spots in Aluva town.

The idea occurred to Fr. Joyce Kaithakkottil more than a year ago when he had gone, along with the Janamaithri police, to give classes on alcohol and drugs in schools. Fr. Joyce felt that it would be an enriching experience if the seminary students mingled with the public.

But thereafter Fr. Joyce was transferred to the Pune Papal Seminary and it was Fr. Martin Kallungal who approached the Circle Inspector of Aluva Shiva Kumar. “Shiva Kumar Sir was very welcoming,” says Fr. Martin. “He said that he was happy to know that there are people who are willing to help the police.”

Later, Sub-Inspector CL Davis went to the seminary, and gave the selected students an orientation course on traffic behavior, rules and the functioning of the traffic lights.

One of the students on duty is Joyce Varghese. “My job is to assist the policemen at the junctions,” he says. “When there is a long line, the vehicles which are behind the lorries cannot see the signal. So I go closer and indicate to them that the signal has turned green and it is time to move on.”

Joyce has no doubts about the reasons behind the logjam at Aluva. “The bridge over the Periyar River has only two lanes,” he says. “Plus, there are a lot of potholes. This slows down the vehicular movement. We need a bigger bridge.”

Interestingly, Joyce says, the most rash drivers are youngsters on bikes. “I always advise them to be careful,” he says.

Not surprisingly, during the course of his work, Joyce has received sarcastic comments from drivers. 'Repair the roads, before telling us how to drive,” is the most common comment. “But many motorists also smile at us.”

Davis is also smiling. “These boys are doing a good job,” he says. “When they stand in front of schools, they help the children to cross the road safely.”

Now and then, the SI will take a few of them to a nearby shop and give them a cup of tea.​

(Published in The New Indian Express, Kerala edition) 

No comments:

Post a Comment