Thursday , 2 July 2020

Project Partnership of Government and Muskaan Foundation for Road Safety: A Success Story

During the working of the project, an ubiquitous aspect of road safety was again highlighted and this was that the labels of beneficiaries, stakeholders and government enforcement agencies and defaulters could not be separated into water-tight compartments. Considering this, it was gruelling for Muskaan to coordinate the seemingly warring segments at community and government levels. As the Project Director, Neha Khullar said, “It is hard for an NGO to seek cooperation from the government officials while holding them responsible as defaulters. Yet an amazingly positive environment prevailed during the BRTS project for which the credit goes to Kuldeep Ranka, the then Commissioner of JDA, NC Mathur, Director Engineering and Raj Kumar, Chief Engineer.”

Project ‘BRTS Route’ based itself on an integrated and holistic approach towards road safety as it is a multi-sector issue. Thus liaison meetings with all the key stakeholders and community for effective coordination and implementation became the main thrust of the project. To recap, these were JDA, Transport Department, Traffic Police, Educational Institutions, Parshads-Public Representatives, VyaparMandals, Industries’ Association, Residents’ Associations, hospitals and clinics and educational institutes on Sikar Road.

In a span of six months from February to July 2013, nine liaison meetings were held with the above multiple stakeholders at Jaipur Development Authority office, DCP Traffic’s Office and on the site. A short overview of meetings and site visits is summed up here below:

The outcome of these meetings was comprehensive as it came from various senior officials, Traffic Police officials and community members. Muskaan NGO worked tirelessly to bring the administration, Traffic Police and the community together through liaison meetings with the community members, bringing them to JDA, the meetings with DCP Traffic, ensure good presence of elected representatives of the community as well as officials of the government from different departments in all the meetings.

Following actions were taken at different levels of government departments:

• Road Engineering at DherkeBalaji Intersection was improved by Jaipur Development Authority. Length and width of the intersection was reduced.

• Speed breakers at all access roads connecting to main road were constructed by JDA. And concerned informative signage was also put up. For the roads falling in the jurisdiction of RIICO (i.e. Vishwakarma Industrial area’s access roads), Muskaan approached RIICO for construction of speed breakers with signs. RIICO agreed with the same and construction is in process.

To differentiate between BRTS Traffic signals and other normal Traffic Signals, Shakti Enterprise labelled the BRTS lights.

Sample VMS Board (Variable Message Signs) was also put up at Alka Chauraha displaying Road Safety messages.

At BhavaniNiketan Intersection Speed Breaker has been painted along with cat eye.

33 Home guards specifically for BRTS corridor were appointed by JDA and are being managed by Traffic Police.

IEC Activities by Muskaan

While the above government and community level initiatives were showing positive progression, the IEC activities of the NGO with schools and colleges brought lot of cheer and awareness to the target group and the education team of Muskaan. Education being its starting and also the strongest point, the road safety orientation program of Muskaan was customized keeping in mind different segments within the educational arena. Besides schools and colleges, the team decided to target the teachers’ segment too through a special program for them. Other segments targeted were drivers and citizens living in the residential societies, executives and factory workers.

The project proved that all the departments and road users responsible for ensuring safe traffic and transport have to work in unison to see that human life is not jeopardized.

Muskaan’s Road Safety Orientation Training Programme, which is a cumulative effort of many years of professional consultations, focuses mainly on developing awareness, sensitivity, attitude and behavioural patterns of different stakeholders. The programme bases itself on the fact that many times in life technical knowledge in a driver may not make him a law abiding and ideal driver. It is the inner compulsion for safety and sensitivity towards human life that contributes to making a law abiding citizen.

The key feature of this training is interactivity. Through techniques such as real life case studies, short films, quiz, role playing, games, discussions on real life issues, this orientation training programme sensitizes trainees and exhorts them to become road safe citizens.

Through the IEC activities Muskaan could reach out to 6425 individuals in 41 educational institutes and societies.

Youth Action Programs by Youth Wing of Muskaan

• Interface with the DCP Traffic: In a most informal interaction, the then DCP Traffic Lata Manoj Kumar talked to students about her journey through life guided by discipline and determination. She showed videos caught by the cameras posted at Traffic intersections and discussed them. 1000 students from two schools participated

• Road Safety Educational Van’s Visit in schools: Muskaan’s Youth Action Team coordinated the visit of the specially designed, fully equipped Road Safety Mobile Van of Traffic Police Jaipur to nine schools covering over1500 students. The audio visually equipped van showed road safety related videos.

• Motor Bike Event: In this innovative and colourful event, Sahaas Riders’ Club headed by Anil Gautam was invited to conduct a three pronged competition in which 75 two wheeler riders from three colleges and schools of Bhawani Niketan Group of Educational Institutes participated. Considering the thrill-seeking attitude of youngsters, this event could give on hands training in safe riding to a young audience through an interesting mix of road safety equipment, knowledge, awareness and driving skills in a fun and competitive environment.

• Road Safety Carnivals in Schools: Muskaan’s youth team engaged the students in organizing activities like quiz, theatre, songs, Pop band, slogan, poster & video making, graffiti and face painting – all relating to road safety. Muskaan brought Acrobats, Magician and puppeteers to the school to perform. 800 students in two schools of the area were engaged in two carnivals.

The event was an eye opener for all the participating bodies. It showed what could be achieved through shared responsibility, an ideal tenet of road safety. The project proved that all the departments and road users responsible for ensuring safe traffic and transport have to work in unison to see that human life is not jeopardized. The project exceeded its objective of reduction of fatality by 10%. Such cohesive action as exemplified during the project period has to be continuous and long range. We cannot say with conviction that the five Es of road safety will continue to work as efficiently as they did during the project period. Saving lives requires lifelong commitment, not knee jerk action at every level.

Dr. (Mrs) Mridul Bhasin
Muskaan: Foundation for Road Safety

Project inputs: Ms. Neha Khullar
Director Project

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