Traffic mess giving headaches
The transport sector both in Urban and Rural areas across Jammu and Kashmir is in a mess. Even a maverick police officer who was deputed more than a year back to head the traffic department failed to generate any visible change. The only change that has been noticed is the increased number of challans and seizure of vehicles.
The twin capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu are in the grip of a severe crisis on the transport front. Both these cities have witnessed steep rise in the population over the years leading to overcrowding. Along with the increased populace have come more vehicles be it private or public transport vehicles.
What is being witnessed is that every year around 1.3 lakh vehicles add up to the already massive number of vehicles that are plying on the urban roads. The problem of having a large fleet of vehicles adds to the chaos as authorities have over the years failed to address multiple issues arising out of unprecedented traffic density in the two cities.
The road widening proposals have been going on a snail’s pace and the plans to improvise on the parking slots have been gathering dust on various tables manned by lethargic babus. The much needed descent traffic culture has not been able to be cultivated among the masses and for this mess everyone among us has to be made accountable.
The highly disorganized traffic sector needs to have short term and long term solutions to bring in some sanity. In long term, widening of the main streets and their arteries, providing subways, building flyovers , streamlining of junctions in a manner that traffic jams are not allowed to happen need to be taken up on priority basis.
Not only should be timelines be fixed to complete these projects but the officials who are in charge of executing these projects should be penalized for failing to meet the deadlines.
And as for the short term measures the removing of encroachments by vendors or by shopkeepers, dismantling structure at critical points in the city, putting dividers and providing efficient and functional electric signalling system and identifying parking slots alongside wide roads need to be taken up immediately.
The encroachment of footpaths and even of the road at some places is a chronic malaise which could not be cured fully despite several efforts by the concerned authorities including the traffic police.
Obviously, the Government has to provide alternative sites to the street vendors if they are to be cleared from occupying street space. This also needs planning. It is all right that the Divisional Commissioners are asked to find a permanent solution to this problem but mere seeking solutions from one department is not proving to be a wise decision.
A mechanism has to be evolved which will frame definite policy of removing the street vendors and relocating them at some suitable place so that traffic jams on main streets are avoided.
What is horrifying is that even critical care ambulances are caught up in traffic snarls at most city junctions and the cops deployed to man the traffic find it extremely hard to make way for them as well. Now this is something we need to ponder over.