When Noida cops bowled me over with their alacrity

We all know about the tardy and callous police response. Here's one that defies that belief

deevakar

Deevakar Anand | June 17, 2014



An early morning call from the cops could make you a tad anxious. No?

Worse, if it’s on a Sunday, when you’re hitting the snooze button of your mobile phone — a countless times. Moreover, if the past two weekends have been consumed in excessive traveling for work and other reasons, any call in the morning would be undesirable.  

But, last Sunday, this particular call to me from the Noida police control room at about 6.55am was rather self-assuring. The night before that (Saturday), I was out on a long drive along with my friend in search of any ‘desi’ dhaba we could embark upon.

On our way back, after struggling with a frustrating average speed of not more than 30kmph on the bad road between Bulandshahar and Greater Noida, hitting the Greater Noida-Noida six-lane smooth expressway was blissful. I hit the accelerator pedal with more force – the speedometer clocking around 90 kmph. I must have driven about 10kms of the nearly 25km long expressway when my car’s headlights set in the high beam mode, fell on a scary sight — a man lying near a bike in the middle of the road.

It was five minutes past midnight. From the middle lane in which I was driving, I swerved towards the right lane to avoid hitting the person lying and the bike. Being on the expressway, I couldn’t have applied brakes unless swerving back to the left most lane. On the rear view mirror, I could spot many high beamed headlights following me at an aggressive speed. In the process, I must have drifted about 30m ahead of the accident spot by the time my car came to a halt.

As I switched on the parking lights, my friend rushed out of the car towards the man and I followed. Meanwhile, I also took out my mobile phone and dialed 100. Cutting short into the operator’s usual greeting ‘police control room (PCR) mein aapka swagat hai’ (welcome to police PCR), I spoke in a loud voice telling him about what I had spotted, the direction in which I was driving (from Greater Noida’s Pari Chowk towards Noida) and the closest landmark (I knew) the road was headed to, that is Sector-93 flyover, which was about five to six kms ahead.

In such cases, even as you attend to the victim(s) and if needed, decide to take them to the hospital on your own, informing the cops as soon as possible helps since once they take over, they are better placed to act faster – rush the victim(s) to bigger hospital(s), get ambulance(s), fire brigade(s), get in touch with the victim’s family and such things.

To avoid the man being crushed by high-speed vehicles on the expressway, we lifted his body to the side of the road. We dragged his crashed bike as well. Surprisingly, the man who appeared to be about 30, badly injured with blood marks on his shirt and trousers was breathing and there was movement in his hands. Perhaps, it was his helmet that saved his life.

The nearest hospital I could think of was the Kailash hospital in Greater Noida. But we were on the other side of the expressway that has no U-turns and the nearest underpass was another seven-eight kilometres ahead. Overall, this hospital was about 27kms away.

Barely 90secs into our dilemma, we saw a police van rushing towards us. It was one of the Noida police’s traffic vans (code-named Eco-3 to be precise) patrolling the expressway that probably responded first to the wireless communication sent by the control room.

As two of the cops lifted him inside their van – an Innova car, their officer had a quick look on my car parked nearby and asked me my name. I could sense his doubts but liked the fact that he was reacting in a fast and professional manner. To satisfy his doubts that I wasn’t the one who hit the biker, I took out my visiting card and told him that in case they still have their doubts, “here are my complete contact details for them to reach me.” Once satisfied, he thanked me along with giving me a firm handshake before rushing the victim to a private hospital. In that hurried exercise lasting not even a minute and a half, I managed to note down his name and number just so I could follow up on what might had happened to the victim.

From the time we had spotted the victim, things had been happening so fast that there was no time to express shock at what we had seen. As the police van moved away from us, we both realised the uneasiness in us at spotting such an accident.
 
“Let’s pray he is saved,” as my friend told me, my mobile phone rang. It was an unknown number. “PCR van se bol raha hoon. Aapne Sahayta maangi thi. Kahan par hain aap exactly? (SIC)” (I am calling from the PCR van. You had asked for help. Where are you now?), asked the male voice on the other side of the phone. I informed him that one of their colleagues had already rushed the victim to the nearest hospital.

Hardly two minutes later, when we had begun driving again, I got another call, this time from the police control room asking if the help reached me on time or not. Later, I called up the Eco- 3 officer Mr Chanderpal Yadav whom I had exchanged contacts with and learnt that the victim was already admitted to a private hospital in Sector 110.

Where cops are commonly labelled as inefficient and callous, for a change, I was amazed at the Noida police’s professionalism at responding to such a crisis. I know this doesn’t reflect any big institutional change in policing standards in UP and in the country as a whole. But then where we complain about our police’s incompetence at the drop of a hat, it is only fair that some of those who do their duty with honesty get their due appreciation.

Besides, the incident reinforces a few important things. One — always wear a helmet. Two — stop to help accident victims. A supreme court of India judgment clearly states: “Effort to save the person (accident victim) should be the top priority not only of the medical professional but even of the police or any other citizen who happens to be connected with that matter or who happens to notice such an incident or a situation,” and the procedural criminal law can be followed thereafter. Unfortunately, only one more car stopped to check what had happened. A few motorists slowed down on spotting the accident scene down but didn’t stop. Three — by the looks of it, the biker was hit by a larger and speedier vehicle. If we stick to the lane driving discipline, a lot of fatal accidents could be prevented.

Oh, you must be wondering about the 6.55am phone call on Sunday? It was a call again from the Noida police control room to take a feedback on the response time. I was informed that the victim was recuperating at a private hospital and they were waiting for him to gain consciousness. “Thank you,” they told me. “Thanks to you guys for doing your duty well,” I said.

On Monday, when I checked on the victim’s condition, I learnt from the police that his family was by his side and he was recovering fast.

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