Editorial | Penalising the errant

Every other day we come across the news that passengers were stuck for hours on the highway connecting the two capital cities of Jammu and Kashmir – Srinagar and Jammu. In the winter months these traffic jams are more frequent. For years people have been crying for the redress of this complaint, but no worthwhile attempt has been made to ensure smooth flow of traffic on this road. Just a few days ago we had the news of a prolonged traffic jam on this road because of landslides. Now these natural hazards are a part of this terrain, and given the past experience such things are not going to go anywhere. But there are other ways of approaching this problem and making sure that the journey on this road is safe and hassle free. If a stringent vigil is ensured on this road, a check can be exercised on wrong overtaking. If only this is ensured much of the problem can be solved.

Those who travel on this road know that once vehicles try to overtake each other, multiple queues of vehicles are formed on one side, leaving no space for the vehicles coming from the other direction. To clear these long lines of traffic takes hours together. This is the time when a traffic jam, without any exaggeration, extends to kilometres altogether. Now there is nothing related to a natural hazard that is involved here. It is purely a case of wrong driving and an inefficient traffic management. If those stretches of this road where such jamming frequently happens are manned by more ground staff, things can be better managed. Also, if cameras are installed at all such places and no patch is left without surveillance, drivers will desist from unwanted overtaking. In case such a thing happen the errant can easily be caught and a heavy penalty can be imposed. Leaving aside all other short term, mid term and long term measures that need to be taken to ease the movement of traffic on this road, if only the concerned departments succeed in ensuring that no wrong overtaking is resorted to, we can ease the flow of traffic to a great extent.