Several months have passed since the Goa government contemplated reintroducing the Traffic Sentinel Scheme -- a revival plan that came in over two years after it was scrapped to mitigate controversies stemming from its misuse by certain citizens aka sentinels.
However, after a high-level road safety meeting held under Chief Minister Pramod Sawant discussed the plans in February, the proposal seems to have been caught in red-tapism.
Sources informed The Goan that a proposal outlining the requirements is yet to progress toward final approval within the department.
“The proposal was put up before the concerned officers but there’s a lack of enthusiasm for the revival of the scheme. The proposal contained various aspects including the allocation of funds for issuing notices and handling of cases within the purview of traffic cells among others... but there’s no feedback from the higher-ups as yet,” a senior official revealed.
The high-level meeting to review the scheme in the wake of a significant rise in traffic violations and accidents had decided that the “Sentinel Scheme will be reviewed,” albeit with a notable change. Sources said the ‘revived scheme’ was scheduled to start in April exclusively involving police personnel to capture and report traffic violators to superiors for further action.
The department had also contemplated allowing public participation in the future but with stringent norms given that during the previous implementation, some of them had misused the scheme.
Collaborating with hotels, establishments, industries, and other entities to acknowledge and reward police personnel through CSR initiatives for the scheme was also on the agenda. The department further identified violations such as triple-seat riding, unauthorized number plates, failure to wear seatbelts or helmets, using mobile phones while riding/driving, tinted glass, etc.
Road safety activist demands CCTVs to man violations
Road safety crusader Roland Martins has opined against the revival of the scheme citing that CCTV cameras will serve the purpose. “If the police are introducing cameras, why do they need this Sentinel Scheme? Sentinels had to face public wrath in the past because, in this, your identity is not a secret. There is no safety… Moreover, you just can’t click pictures standing out on any premises or public places. It is not acceptable,” he said. Martins demanded that CCTV cameras should be put to use and maintained regularly.
Former DGP’s brainchild flopped
The scheme was introduced by the Director General of Police Muktesh Chander in 2017, to reduce traffic violations with the active participation of the citizens and encourage community policing through a mobile app introduced by the Goa Police.
Scheme stopped 3 years after it was enforced
The scheme, in which citizens earned financial rewards for reporting road violations to the police, was scrapped in January 2021 and the cabinet decision followed over six months after it was kept in abeyance from July 15, 2020, to December 2020. The then cabinet claimed that traffic police and CCTV cameras would bring road discipline.