The mess on roads


It has become routine with the officials related to traffic department to come up with meetings and announcements of new measures to regulate traffic in Srinagar. But nothing concrete is done to streamline the traffic management and road safety. It can be said with great authority there is complete mess on roads all across Kashmir, and the authorities responsible for maintain roads and managing traffic are doing mere lip service. Though the traffic problem is an old case but it needs to be corrected at some point of time. The incumbent government cannot shy away with the responsibility mere by blaming the previous government. It does not need to get in black and white the problems people are facing all across the city due to traffic jams. The ministers and officials of the state government themselves pass through this ordeal more often. Jam and mess on Srinagar roads is daily affair. The main city chowks remain jammed all through the day making travelling difficult even for pedestrians. The distance which normally could be covered in minutes takes hours to travel over. Travelling on Srinagar roads, indeed, has become longer and grueling affair. The construction work on flyover from Jahangir Chowk to Ram Bagh has only but added to the disorder on city roads. The huge traffic jams at PantaChwok, Hydrepora, Ram Bagh, Exhibition Chowk, Batamaloo, Qamarwari, BudshahChowk and Dalgate have reached unparalleled proportions. PantaChowk is a classic case. It chokes the city from south and east ends completely notwithstanding the fact that road has been widened there to the required level. The traffic congestion at Qamarwari clogs the city from the west end. The left-over (north end) gets blocked with huge jams at Soura and city interiors like Khanyar and Rainawari. There are instances when a commuter had to wait for two to three hours to get cleared of the traffic jam. The mess right from Ram Bagh to exhibition chowk is so grueling and time consuming that many a commuters, who have their work places in and around LalChowk, have made it a habit to leave their homes in early morning hours. The mess on prestigious Boulevard Road, which is the face of Kashmir tourism, is even more agonizing. The evening time, when there is presence of tourists in the area, gives a horrible look. The installation of traffic signals has not helped to the level one had expected in regulation of traffic at Exhibition ground. The commuters could not be absolved completely for the mess. The moment the light turns red, cars zip past in a flash. The zebra-crossings are blocked by cars, forcing pedestrians to make their way through the vehicles. Shameless drivers on the wrong side, nosing through illegal cuts, taking U-turns before roundabouts, driving with mobile phone fixed to their ears - all are direct causes of the mess on the roads. What makes things murkier is the indifference of the police supposed to manage the traffic. One can see policemen busy with gossip or talking to individual pedestrians and drivers on the fringes little caring about traffic madness around. Undoubtedly, much needs to be done for regulation of traffic in the city to make life easy for the people. The development of road infrastructure is the primary need but it cannot be done overnight. It would take time. But the government little appears to be conscious of this primary requirement. It has no idea of how the mess on the roads could e cleared. The mess on the city roads is a strong reminder to the government to build road infrastructure on priority bases. Till then people should not be left to suffer. There is a strong need for regulation of traffic to minimize the peoples’ problems. The strength of traffic police should be increased in proportion with the increase in rush on roads. The policemen have to become more responsible. There are large scale complaints that policemen allow illegal parking of vehicle against payoffs. They need to change and be harsher with the people who break traffic laws and believe that rules are not for them.