Jammu needs flyovers

Jammu city, being the winter capital of the State is reported to have the largest number of vehicles in the count taking the headcount of population of the city into account. But its streets are same and not extended because there is no scope of extending these. Except for one or two residential colonies of Jammu city, the rest of the city has come up unplanned. Narrow streets are the characteristics of Jammu lay out and one can image the huge traffic crawling at snail’s pace along these crowded narrow streets. The worst is that there is large scale encroachment of these small streets and cart vendors and others making the confusion worse confounded.
Government’s apathy, contrivance by politicos and pecuniary interests of the Government functionaries all converge on creating mess of traffic. What is depressing is firstly lack of will at the town planning level to find ways and means of easing the traffic congestion and secondly total apathy of administration about prioritizing the projects of flyovers which are considered a panacea for curing traffic jams in congested towns and particularly in congested areas of the city. Ten years ago in 2007 the projects of making fly-overs on Ambphalla -Bus Stand link and Jewel – Talab Tiloo link were conceived and survey conducted. For Ambphalla – Bus Stand link 80 crore rupees were sanctioned by the Asian Development Fund. But owing to the non-seriousness of the Government, the matter was left only after making a survey of about 130 structures that had to be razed and compensation paid to the owners. The ADB found that the J&K Government was not very keen on constructing the flyover decided to de-sanction the project. In this way we lost the golden opportunity of improving our city traffic by building the flyover and at the same time the funds sanctioned by the ADB were also blocked.
The same is the story of Jewel – Talab Tiloo link which is considered the most crowded link in the city of Jammu. In both of these plans vested interests have become the road block. The shopkeepers, whose shops had to be demolished built a strong lobby and influenced the Government. It is also reported that a large number of the structures that have to be demolished have been raised on state land. They would not get any compensation if they made a claim for the same. In this way personal influence, politics, vested interests and of Government soft paddling all converged into putting both the projects in cold store. How can one expect traffic congestion to ease under such circumstances?
On the other hand, urbanization and industrialization of the city of Jammu are taking place at a rapid speed. Congestion and air pollution both are on the rise. Traffic situation is expected to become more critical in years to come. There is cost of escalation. A project estimated at about 50 crores in 2007 has escalated to 80 crores in 2017. We still hope that in case the project is revived, the ADB may still be interested in bringing relief to the people of both the regions.