TRAFFIC SIGNALS CATCH COLD

Now poor power supply fuels mess on City roads, admin gropes for solutions

Greater Kashmir / SYED IMRAN ALI HAMDANI
Publish Date: Dec 10 2012 12:00PM

Srinagar, Dec 9: The onset of harsh Himalayan winter has started to hit summer Capital life on yet another front. This time the allegedly poor power supply has badly hit even the traffic signal functioning as the electronic system is often down to trigger massive jams even worst than before.
 Even though ahead of the winter, the government admitted that poor power supply was affecting the traffic signal functioning, till now no remedial measure was taken. And with power cuts going longer and peskier, the traffic signals barely function.

THE CHAOS
 Traffic jams are returning fast in the areas, which had witnessed some respite since the installation of the much hyped signals. From the City centre of Lal Chowk to Jehangir Chowk to TRC, the trouble is visible everywhere as the signals keep blinking orange if not altogether dead while Traffic police finds it difficult to regulate traffic manually.
 All this triggers chaos with vehicles getting stuck in long queues. In the wake of the crisis, the traffic police has sealed some of the crossings thereby making drivers take long drives for taking turns. The same happens near Lal Chowk, where the traffic signals are dead (or at times blinking orange) while vehicles are forced to take a two odd kilometre long diversion near Poloview. But that spot is again in mess as the traffic signals there too do not function properly.

THE PUBLIC ANGER
 People are all fire against the ruling National Conference led government for “forgetting Srinagar with the Durbar move.” “Srinagar is facing worst of the power crisis for the past three consecutive winters while Traffic signals are the latest causality on this front,” said Ghulam Mustafa of Soura.
 
THE CONFESSION
 Two months back, on the floor of the house, Deputy Chief Minister, Tara Chand candidly admitted that the poor power supply was affecting the traffic signals. He was responding to a query by MLC Vijay Bakaya.
 “The matter has been taken up with the PDD for providing uninterrupted power supply through special feeder,” Tara Chand said adding that erratic power supply was affecting the traffic signal system.

NO BREAKTHROUGH
 Till now there has been no breakthrough as the Power Development Department (PDD) is yet to give a dedicated power supply to the traffic signals. Given the fact that City is facing worst of the power cuts, the signal performance remains equally affected.
 
THE BACKUP PROBLEM
 The government says that traffic signals have a battery backup of eight hours. “But in the absence of proper charging because of poor power, the system is unable to operate,” admitted a senior official.
 As per the Deputy Chief Minister, the maintenance work has been allotted to a private agency. “The company M/S Onnyx electronics is responsible for smooth operation of the signal for a period of two years and in case of any defect reported the company has to repair the fault within a period of one day (maximum 24 hours) during the warranty period,” Tara Chand had informed the house.
 But in the absence of power, the system has almost collapsed.

THE CAUTION
 Quoting experts, Greater Kashmir for the past two months, has been highlighting that signals could face the worst during winters. For now the fears have come true about the facility which government claims to have installed at a cost of over Rs 208.17 lakhs.

OFFICIALS SPEAK
 When contacted a Traffic police official admitted that there was a trouble with the signal system because of “poor power”.
 He however said efforts were being made to restore the system. “A team of experts has been called to solve the issue,” the official told Greater Kashmir.