Post by RK News on Monday, July 17, 2023
Traffic congestion in Kashmir and particularly in Srinagar is a chronic disease – much like arthritis, which hurts when people tend to move on busy roads and through marketplaces. In the day time the two dimensional world marked by space and time transforms to total anarchy with people, vehicles and vendors contributing generously in preparing the traffic sandwich. For appetite the daily commuter in Srinagar, is served traffic jams at many places like Hari Singh High Street, Jehangir Chowk, Dalgate, Rambagh, Batmaloo, Qamarwari, Pantha Chowk and a dozen other vicinities. Other than Srinagar, traffic jams are also served at many localities in Pattan, Baramulla, Ganderbal, Bandipora, Anantnag and even on Srinagar-Jammu highway. As the commuter-commoner suffers the spasmodic pain while traveling a stretch of 100 metres in half an hour, the pitch of the public pain raises and reaches concerned authorities, traffic and transport officials. Bottlenecks are identified in high level meetings, better traffic management plans are discussed and fresh go-aheads arbitrarily sanctioned. That is official aspirin to relive some pain. So far as treatment is concerned officials and authorities are positive without a speck of doubt that traffic mess in Kashmir is chronic and incurable. Such analysis, as it appears, is rightly backed by both experience and competency. Traffic sandwich in Kashmir can also be described in terms of ingredients that make this fine blend. Officials of traffic management are clueless as where is it all coming from for they are often found talking on communication sets more than directing the passage of vehicles. Then there are these VIP passages to decongest roads for crème de la crème who have more important businesses to attend. Mere sight of beepers and high profile vehicles throw cops in frenzies. There is no stopping for signals, no pulling over. Next is the organized road parking at commercial places. There are lines drawn on the road for parking space and drivers by default add an extra 3-4 feet margin, depending on in how much time the car will be left at the spot. The ones really good at road parking are auto rickshaw drivers. They own the road, to the last inch and can park anywhere, anytime. Now in that limited space add vendors and kiosks and you get the final passage through which vehicles have to steer. You have buses, cars, pickup trucks, goods carriers, utility vehicles, motor cycles, bicycles, carts, dogs, cattle and adamant pedestrians who do not mind walking in the middle of the road. In all this, how are drivers or commuters supposed to sit tight and enjoy the ride? Concept of bus stop has become a vague idea to the extent that the entire stretch is but one extended bus stop. Public transport buses halt and board irrespective of position, place or circumstance. The government must make novel deliberations to find effective cure for this chronic disease. At the same time it must make sure that traffic management does not become mismanagement and result in chaos and anarchy on roads.