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Tough and efficient

With a deft authority and baton she manages the traffic at the busy Paradise X roads. Meet K. Bharathi, the tough cop on the city roads.



IN CONTROL: K. Bharathi directs traffic. — Photo: P. V. Sivakumar

IT IS six in the evening at Paradise X Roads - one of the noisiest, busiest and most polluted locations in the twin cities. The evening traffic is at its peak and its confusion worst confounded, the flashing Belisha Beacon notwithstanding. Normality returns only when a slightly cantankerous, baton-wielding, khaki sari-clad home guard cop, K. Bharathi descends on the scene.

For over two years now, this `tough cop' has been manning, rather, `womanning' the busy centre with almost absolute efficiency. `Bizarre' would be one apt word to describe the scene at Paradise X Roads with thousands of vehicles criss-crossing all day in true Hyderabadi style. Zebra crossings, traffic signals and stop lines mean little to the average Hyderabadi and it takes some effort on the part of a truculent cop like Bharathi. "There is an utter lack of even the most basic civic sense among people here. People do not realise the harm and injury they may be causing to others around them by jumping signals," says Bharathi, reason and justification enough for Bharathi to swagger around, straining her vocal chords to the fullest. Few motorists would have escaped incurring her wrath. Just cross the `stop line' and be ready to get shoved back. Literally. "I don't actually feel I am being rough or harsh. My duty is to control traffic, ease congestion and maintain a steady flow. I find it rather unfortunate that the public is not bothered that a lady is controlling the traffic. While they expect a lady to be soft and gentle, they conveniently forget their own obligations to discharge too," she explains. Recently a motorist stopped and asked Bharathi if she was trained to abuse road users to which Bharathi retorted, "I certainly know how to rein in animals!" "College students are usually a bit rough. Many others are slowly complying with traffic rules," she adds.

Bharathi is cognizant of the occupational hazards - Paradise X Roads figures among the most polluted spots in Hyderabad. Using the public address system from inside a shelter on the traffic island serves little purpose. Which is why Bharathi is in the midst of the action — the road, rain or shine. "I still feel I am able to regulate only about 80-90 per cent of the traffic," she says a bit woefully. But she has made an impact — even the most daring and adventurous college student would think twice before jumping a signal here.

Such commitment and efficiency at the work place has not gone unnoticed. The superiors in the force, the Additional DCP and the ACP for instance, have actually seen the home guard attached to the Bansilalpet Police Station regulate traffic with consummate ease. "ACP Sir (North Zone) once came out of his car and congratulated me and wished the all the very best for doing a wonderful job," she says with a smile of satisfaction.

Trainees in the police force are given Bharathi's example. And last month, the Rotary Club applauded her service by presenting Bharathi with a cash award and a shield at a function organised at a star hotel not far from where she regulates traffic. Bharathi, who earlier saved a life when she foiled a suicide bid on the Tank Bund, is not perturbed by the bouquets or brickbats. "People may say or do anything. I am merely doing my duty and enjoy doing it," she says. Next time you walk out of Paradise cafe, better be doubly careful not to break a traffic rule, or else be ready for a mouthful.

SUDHEENDRA PUTTY

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