Kolkata. Traffic policemen under the leadership of Sub-Inspector Mr. Lal Singhal has threatened to call for a bandh on 13th of July unless the government sets up ATM counters at all the major traffic junctions of Kolkata, later to be implemented all across India.
From the last few months he is gathering popular police support regarding this. He claims that most of his colleagues are with him in this endeavor and they will turn all signals red on the bandh day. His call got the biggest shot in the arm yesterday when the renowned organization of “BRihat Indian Bureaucrat’s Establishment” or BR.I.B.E came out in open supporting him, giving the campaign a pan-India flavor.
“In today’s debit-credit-card world, no one is carrying enough hard cash. Whenever we stop people for genuine offences like ‘Riding with opened zip’, ‘Car’s backlight dim’, ‘Pillion rider not wearing abdominal guard’ etc., these people will simply say ‘Sar, taka nehi hoi, Card letan hain koya’ (I don’t have cash, do you accept cards?), and we have no way in those cases. The buggers never return even after taking mother’s oath that they will fetch the money from nearby ATM and come back,” said a furious Lal Singhal.
“Hath not the policeman rights to lead a simple life in a small duplex flat with a small roof top garden? Can’t a person whose duty is to stop others cars ever dream of owning one himself? If offenders do not carry cash, how can you expect him to pursue his dreams?” fellow constable and confidante Mr. Billiam Shakshipuri broke down depicting the present condition of traffic policemen.
“The government is closely monitoring the developments,” one of the officials, an insider, reported on condition of anonymity; however he revealed that the Government is actually giving a serious thought to the demands by traffic policemen.
“Data proves that presence of ATMs in vicinity of Passport office, R.T.O, and Land registration offices has fetched richer dividends. We are also evaluating the possibilities of providing mobile card-swiping devices in case we can’t build full-fledged ATM boxes,” the insider revealed.
“However the government has rejected other demands like putting notes of only 500 rupees denomination in those ATMs and planting a banyan tree behind every ATM,” he added.
Meanwhile the common citizens and daily commuters had a divided opinion on the issue, as the citizens usually have on every issue in a functioning democracy.
Some people like Call Center employee P K Dhutt, who has often been fined for drunken driving, are in favor of having the ATM counters. “If I can pay a bribe by successfully entering my pin code, it will reassure me that I’m not drunk enough. It’s a nice safety measure introduced by the government,” he argued.
Others like Miss Durgha Tina Singh didn’t look too impressed, “I already have drainage pits, unruly traffic, speed bumps, and confusing roads to negotiate. Why to add another obstacle in my path?”
While some like Chartered Accountant and anti-corruption activist Prashant Kejriwal is excited at the possibility of “documentation” of bribes. “When we pay bribe in cash, it turns into black money as there is no record. If we pay by card, this is going to revolutionize the country!” he said, extending his full support to the bandh called by traffic policemen.
Till now the city of Kolkata has seen and respected bandhs from all kinds of people. Be it the ones in Opposition or the ones in No Position. It will be interesting to see their reaction when the bandh is called by the people who control the “Green Lights”.