Who is responsible?
WE ALL? NOT THE TRAFFIC DEPARTMENT ALONE. IT'S EVERYONE'S RESPONSIBILITY TO SMOOTHEN THE SYSTEM, BUT WHAT WE DO IS REVERSE, COMMENTS DR.FAROOQ AHMAD PEER
Due to an unprecedented increase in vehicular traffic, it's becoming increasingly difficult for the concerned department to manage the affair. Like elsewhere, the management of traffic, both on the roads and footpaths, in J&K in general and the cities of Srinagar and Jammu in particular is not up to the mark.
The question of the traffic management therefore, has been a topic of debate for everybody and the agencies concerned. The traffic police, an essential organ for the management of traffic has been under severe scrutiny in this regard. In fact the traffic police have been the only agency which is being targeted for poor management of traffic in the state in general and in Srinagar in particular. This may be due to the reason that the traffic police is the most visible agency which performs its duty on the roads for the smooth functioning of the traffic. Traffic police is not the only agency which could be held responsible for the messy traffic management. In fact there is a large number of agencies or departments in the State Government which constitute the traffic management system and are directly or indirectly responsible for the management of traffic. But it is unfortunate that there is lack of co-ordination between these organs of the traffic management structure and they are reluctant to shoulder their responsibilities so that a favorable traffic system could be brought into force. The Motor Vehicle Department is responsible for conducting survey of routes to ascertain transport requirements, inspect the fitness of vehicles but hardly any such move is seen mooted by the department and condition of the routes is and remains deplorable. The department is only busy in issuing licenses and route permits. The Municipal Corporation which is responsible for removing vendors and other traffic blockades, is never being seen doing its responsibility on the roads. The Public Works Department which is responsible for construction of new roads and flyovers and widening of roads has been doing its job at a good speed in Jammu Division but has been apathetic and slow in doing its job in Kashmir and particularly in Srinagar. The Srinagar City needs a good number of flyovers and requires wide roads because rush of the traffic has swelled to a great extent and the roads and junctions available at present are not sufficient to bear or absorb the pressure of traffic. The Thana or Executive police is responsible for disallowing any traffic blockade and unnecessary impediment in the form of mobile shops or encroachments made by the permanent shopkeepers and also discourage long stops by the drivers but their role has been very disappointing on this front.
One cannot deny the fact that the population of people has increased at a fast speed in the State of J and K and particularly in Srinagar city. In order to keep pace with the times, the people need better and quick transport facilities to make full utility of their precious time. And hence, the number of vehicles or transport facilities has largely increased on the roads. However, the speed at which the transport on the roads of the State has increased over the years especially during the past decade, has not been keeping balance with the corresponding increase in the road width and length. It is also to be considered that the traffic system is not being switched over to the electronic traffic signal system and the important work of traffic management is still to be managed by the understaffed traffic police. In case the State is not able to have modern and electronic traffic system, it should have recruited more traffic personnel to look after the traffic system but the matter is not being given attention and the mess in traffic continues.
While keeping the above facts in view, one may understand that we cannot make only the traffic police responsible for the mismanagement of traffic in the State and in Srinagar city. The Inspector General of Police, Muhammad Amin Shah, in the recently published journal Trafficininfo , vol,11, 2010, ( A J and K Traffic Police Publication), says that “public co-operation, co-ordination between the concerned organs of the traffic management structure would enable the traffic police to give people a comfortable traffic system in the city”. He also says, “No one is coming up with any worthwhile suggestion to better the management of traffic in the State” One can understand the limitations of the traffic police in handling the vast system of traffic management but there are certain concerns which the officers and particularly the IGP, has to look into at an earliest to restore the image of the traffic police that it is impartial and abides by law and other regulations of the traffic.
Since we all know that a lot of pollution is being created by the outdated and outmoded vehicles, the authorities of traffic department have issued a circular in which they have appealed and apprised the owners of heavy as well as light vehicle to get their vehicles ascertained from the Pollution Control Board (an organ of traffic management structure) that their vehicles are free from any pollution and in this regard a certificate is to be obtained for the satisfaction of the Traffic Police. The drive to this effect is in force and it is seen that vehicles without this certificate are challaned and even impounded. The traffic police seems to be very concerned about the ecological balance of our valley particularly Srinagar city. And it also seems to be striving for streamlining the traffic system within the city of Srinagar which is in fiasco and has become a cause of anguish for everybody. It is admirable that traffic police has realized its responsibility towards the people of this society but it has to establish its credibility that its action and initiation of law enforcement is against all and not against only the common masses. It has not to proceed against only a commoner but its action must be against the top and influential ones also. Its action and laws should not be made to be broken by the law makers and the powerful and it should not prove John Wilson true that “Written laws are like spider’s webs; they will catch, it is true, the weak and poor, but would be torn into pieces by the rich and powerful.”
Till the Government envisages a comprehensive plan and constructs flyovers and widens roads and till all the organs of the traffic management system apprehend their responsibilities towards the people in providing them a better traffic system, the Traffic Police Department can and needs to gear up against the traffic menace and traffic rule breakers in a vehement manner in the whole valley particularly in and around Srinagar. It should in the first phase bring the drivers of passenger vehicles under discipline who have unnecessarily created havoc in the system of traffic. It is always witnessed that they park and stop their vehicles in the middle of the roads for longer times and strand or jam the traffic on both the sides.
The role of the Traffic Police and Executive Police is crucial. In case police does not play its role honestly and permits itself to become hostage to the will and desire of any agency and group, it does injustice to the society as well as with the Government to which it belongs and thereby does a great disservice.
The society also has to become conscious about the traffic discipline and rules. Let's all co-operate so that system is brought to a normal. After all it's our own problem. If we won't solve it, who else will.
(Dr Farooq Ahmad Peer is Head, Department of English, Amar Singh College, Srinagar. Feedback at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Mon, 7 Jun 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 7 Jun 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 Jun 2010 00:00:00 IST
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