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Why are traffic signals being turned off during noon in Karnataka's Kalaburagi?

In response to soaring temperatures in Kalaburagi, Karnataka, traffic police have turned off most traffic signals during peak afternoon hours, aiming to alleviate discomfort. Commissioner Chetan endorsed the decision, prioritizing smoother commutes. Campaign strategies have also adapted to the heat, with politicians scheduling activities during cooler hours. 

Why are traffic signals being turned off during noon in Karnataka's Kalaburagi? vkp
First Published Apr 9, 2024, 4:20 PM IST

The scorching summer heat has prompted authorities in Kalaburagi city, Karnataka, to take a compassionate step. With temperatures soaring up to 44 degrees Celsius, the local traffic police have decided to provide relief to the public by turning off most traffic signals during the hottest hours of the day.

Responding to the relentless heatwave affecting regions like Ballari, Raichur, and Kalaburagi in North Karnataka, residents have been enduring drought-like conditions without respite from rainfall. The recent spike in temperatures, hitting 44 degrees Celsius for consecutive days in Kalaburagi, spurred the traffic police to extend a helping hand to the community.

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The initiative involves switching off traffic signals in areas experiencing minimal traffic flow during the peak afternoon hours when the sun is at its harshest. Kalaburagi, with a total of 15 traffic signals across the city, will keep only a handful operational during the designated time. The decision, endorsed by Kalaburagi City Police Commissioner R. Chetan, aims to help the discomfort faced by citizens amidst the intense heat.

Acknowledging public concerns, Commissioner Chetan emphasized the need to minimize wait times at traffic signals during the scorching afternoons, particularly for two-wheeler riders, auto drivers, and other motorists. Hence, signals in areas with sparse traffic will remain inactive from 12 noon to 5 pm, ensuring smoother commutes for those on the roads.

However, it's crucial to note that heavily congested intersections will not benefit from this exemption. The measure, primarily aimed at mitigating sun-related discomfort, does not favour reckless driving or disregard for traffic regulations. Commissioner Chetan reiterated the importance of adhering to traffic rules to ensure public safety.

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Beyond traffic management, the stifling heatwave has also influenced political campaigning strategies in Kalaburagi. With temperatures soaring between 43 to 44.5 degrees Celsius, politicians have adjusted their campaign schedules accordingly. Recognizing the adverse conditions, campaign activities now primarily occur during the cooler hours of the day, from 7 am to 11 am and 5 pm to 10 pm.

Despite the tough competition in the Kalaburagi Lok Sabha constituency, INC president Mallikarjun Kharge's son-in-law vying for a seat, the BJP remains optimistic about its electoral prospects. However, the daunting weather conditions have prompted a shift in campaign tactics. Rather than risking the scorching midday sun, politicians opt for door-to-door canvassing in the mornings and evenings, reserving afternoons for sporadic meetings.

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