Jammu chaotic traffic

Jammu, a city with primitive layout of streets, lanes, by-lanes and habitats is a city humming with more than a million people that grew in a short span of time.  It is a city where the influx of pilgrim tourists, normal tourists and migrant labourers burgeon the existing population figure to twice its size. Evidently, it presents a classical example of grave infrastructural disproportion between what it has and what it should have. Here is a cramped city with pencil lines rather than roads, with crowded houses more of ghettos than habitable locales. In this compressed city located partly atop the western end of the Trikuta Hills and partly on the plains sprawling at the foot of these hillocks, no fewer than 7, 50000 motor vehicles ply on its narrow pencil-line streets. More interesting is that every year about 60,000 vehicles are added to this staggering number. Imagine the congestion, the traffic jams, the road rages, the carbon emission, the noise pollution and the looming threat to pedestrians denied safe walk over the footpaths by the encroaching shopkeepers, mobile vendors, hawkers, an army of stray dogs and beggars.
This widespread traffic scenario is made more disgusting by lack of visionary traffic planning. Nobody concerned with the service is prepared to make any fresh and novel input into the scheme of things that would bring about palpable change in the existing traffic system of the city.  It is primitive in function with no control and no accountability. In a sense, entire traffic in the city runs by the free will of the drivers of vehicles private or public. A couple of years back, automatic electric signals were fixed at crucial crossings. The company assigned the task gave demonstrations. Very few of the electronic signal post are functional now. Crores of rupees were spent on the project. Amusingly but not surprisingly, nobody in the Traffic Department or Municipal Corporation has raised eyebrow on this disastrous plan in which crores of rupees of taxpayer went down the drain.  Why the traffic police and the regular police are unable to put an end to illegal encroachment of the main streets by the shopkeepers? Is there a nexus between the two? The shopkeepers spread out their merchandise on the footpath in front of their shops and thus obstruct pedestrians walking along. The police officers on the beat or the traffic police on duty see and turn their face to another side. What type of administration is this?
The mini buses are the means of city transport. Has any traffic authority ever checked whether these mini buses are worth the name? We wish a Traffic official once sit in the seat of a normal mini bus and travels a mile or two in it and he will find his legs crouched, his back aching, his ears deaf with loud noise of obscene songs and the crowds inside the bus standing like sardines in a pack box. It is humiliating, it is inhuman and it is rank expression of capitalist exploitation. About the behaviour of the conductors and the drivers, the less said the better. At least one thing has happened and that is the obscene pictures of girls and boys do not appear on windowpanes. However, obscene songs and music is on the rise. It is shameful and condemnable. Why does not the Traffic Department introduce low floor modern type of buses that have very comfortable seats, space and smooth ride? The routes are monopolized. Do not the people of Jammu deserve to be treated as respectable human beings who would like to ride a bus with dignity and grace and without physical squeeze? More importantly, many mini buses do have painted the instruction that 1-9 seats are meant for women. However, the ground reality is that never does a male, especially of younger age, offer the seat to an elderly female commuter who is standing and holding the support all the time. Mini bus owners have framed a nexus with traffic authorities and they do not allow the government to introduce low-floor modern buses we find in all capital cities in the country today.
Widening of narrow streets is not possible because that entrails enormous money by way of compensation to house or shop owners. However, flyovers are the alternative. Unless there is a network of flyover of utility, traffic snarls will continue to haunt Jammu. At least half a dozen flyovers are needed at crucial sites in the city where there is huge traffic jam. Secondly, of much urgency are the parking lots for which there is hardly any land available by the side of the main streets. Therefore, multi-storey parking structures are the only answer. Lastly, the Traffic Department will have to devise a policy that control putting more motor cars on the roads. The Government should invite experts in the country to talks for investing in the improvement of traffic situation in Jammu and Srinagar cities.


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