Situation to worsen during forthcoming Amarnathji Yatra
Traffic Police mute spectator, taking complaints casually
JAMMU, June 16: Notwithstanding repeated directives from the Advisors to the Governor during the past one month, there is no end to the chaos on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway mainly due to inaction on the part of Traffic Police and failure of the construction companies to adhere to the suggestions of the committee of experts of the National Highway Authority of India.
The prevailing situation on this vital link between twin capitals of the State is likely to worsen during the coming days as on one side there will be considerable increase in the vehicular traffic due to start of Shri Amarnathji Yatra and on the other side Monsoon season will begin.
On May 17, all the four Advisors to the Governor had a detailed discussion with all the concerned authorities on the status of works being undertaken on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and reasons behind frequent traffic jamming. After thorough discussions and the inputs provided by the participants, some decisions were taken to ensure smooth movement of traffic on the National Highway and the Traffic Police was explicitly told to leave no stone unturned so that commuters don’t face inconvenience.
On May 21, Advisor K K Sharma convened a meeting with the committee of experts of the National Highway Authority of India to assess the situation of land sliding and traffic management. The issue of parking of vehicles especially trucks on the sides of the National Highway was thoroughly debated and for better traffic management it was suggested that highway should be divided into zones where double lane and single lane traffic is allowed to avoid traffic jams.
In the meeting, Advisor Sharma issued directions to the concerned officers to identify more locations to dump the debris to avoid traffic jams and Traffic Police was directed to be on the toes round the clock to avoid inconvenience to the commuters especially when tourist season is on.
Few days back, Advisors K K Sharma and Vijay Kumar personally conducted inspections to get first-hand information regarding condition of the highway and accordingly directions were issued for minimizing the inconvenience to the commuters.
However, despite all these directions there is no end to the chaos on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway mainly because of inaction on the part of Traffic Police. While travelling on this main artery connecting twin capitals, this Excelsior Correspondent noticed non-adherence to the directions issued during the past one month by the Advisors.
What to talk of regulating traffic, no Traffic Police cop was found between Jawahar Tunnel and Chanderkote stretch of the highway, which otherwise is considered as most problematic area.
“We generally see one or two Traffic Police cops that too in Ramban and Banihal towns only and their absence compels us to regulate vehicular movement on our own so as to avoid inconvenience to the passengers of our vehicles”, said a number of stranded Tata Sumo and Tavera operators when asked about extent of problem they are facing regularly.
“It takes four to five hours to cover distance between Jawahar Tunnel and Chanderkote and inaction on the part of Traffic Police personnel compels us to face the anger of the passengers, who most of the times hold us responsible for the prolonged delay in reaching the destination”, they further said, adding “the slackness on the part of the Traffic Police personnel is at a time when tourist season is on”.
Even Army and CRPF personnel, who were also stranded at different locations between Jawahar Tunnel and Ramban town, were seen clearing the traffic so as to pave the way for the movement of their vehicles as also those of the civilians. Even no zones were noticed for parking of trucks to avoid traffic chaos as was decided in a meeting taken by one of the Advisors.
There was also absolute non-compliance to the directives regarding prompt and regular removal of debris by the agencies involved in the widening of the National Highway. Rather, the vehicles of the construction agencies were seen contributing to the chaos as if inconvenience to the commuters was not an issue for those supervising the widening work.
The Excelsior Correspondent contacted SSP Traffic National Highway, Deputy Superintendent of the Traffic Police and the DTI concerned to ascertain the steps being taken to ensure smooth movement of traffic. While two of them put the ball in the court of the agencies involved in the construction works, DySP Traffic even refused to admit that there was any chaos on the highway.
What would be the situation on the National Highway during Shri Amarnathji Yatra and forthcoming Monsoon season can be easily gauged from the prevailing mess. “If the Traffic Police personnel are not made accountable for action on the directions issued during the past one month, pilgrims would have tough time”, shopkeepers at Ramban town said.