It’s 10 in the morning, things are just warming up in Delhi’s arterial Seelampur road. In a few hours, the temperature will soar to a skin-scalding 42 degrees, but Ganga Ram is not bothered. “I really enjoy working here. Helping boys (traffic cops) to decongest traffic gives me immense satisfaction.”
The 72-year-old has been overseeing the busy stretch of north-east Delhi’s Seelampur red light for last three decades without any compensation.
He ran a TV repair shop in Seelampur D block but his life took a tragic turn when his son Mukesh Kumar died in a bike accident five years ago, ironically, at the same spot where he manages traffic.
“I am doing this for last 30 years. I used to offer my services (traffic) in the morning and evening and worked at my shop in the day. I used to close my shop in the evening and come here again to manage traffic. Then, my son died and I started working here for entire day.”
“My son was riding a bike, it collided with a Tata 407. His backbone was broken. People took him to a hospital. Even after six months in the hospital we could not save him. His backbone was operated upon and the spinal plates were also inserted, but to no avail,” he added.
Ganga Ram’s unflinching commitment to serve public has got him several accolades but with little or no compensation. The old man derives immense satisfaction from a mere pat in the back from senior officials and meager rewards ranging from Rs 1000 to Rs 1500 on national holidays.
“I get paid around Rs 1000 to Rs 1500 on 15 August and 26 January. If any officer passes by, he recognises me and that gives me immense happiness.”
However, that is hardly enough to sustain a family of four. Ganga Ram lives at a slum in Ghaziabad’s Ekta Vihar with two of his grand children and a daughter in law, who is the sole breadwinner in the family. The dilapidated walls and the small dingy rooms of his house tells a story of penury that Ganga Ram is too proud to narrate.
“My daughter in law works at a hospital.She gets Rs 8000-9000 per month. We manage to survive with this amount only.”
The septuagenarian, though, is an inspiration for young traffic cops who work with him at Seelampur red light.
“He has been managing traffic here for over two decades with complete selflessness. Whenever there is a traffic jam, he makes sincere efforts to de-congest it. He comes here in the morning and works till 9 pm. He is a very good man and is serving the public without any greed and even public acknowledges his efforts,” Sub Inspector NS Rathi told Inuth.com.