Sunday, December 3, 2023

Confused state

Traffic disorder is not new to Kohima or Dimapur. It is more severe on Mondays than other week days. Here let’s take Kohima as an example. For almost a decade now Kohima roads are full of confusion. The explosive growth of vehicles is quickly becoming a serious problem for us. But it is more a people created problem. The messy traffic on Kohima roads instead of efficiency has slowed down the pace. Very often traffic gridlocks significantly contribute to air and noise pollution in the city. The loss of time and the mental agony as well as physical stress is stealing our productivity. Surely, traffic regulating authorities cannot be absolved of their responsibilities but blaming them entirely will be unfair. Unruly drivers, both public and private, arrogant pedestrians, and compromising authorities have created a situation of a free-for-all. Accidents have become a common affair on roads. The footpath and street vendors further complicate the existing chaotic situation. Though we have acute shortage of road width and off-road parking space, half of the road width always remains under the occupation of vendors selling fruit, vegetables, etc and most of the times, even the footpaths are not visible. Almost on every road, street, and crossings, street vendors have occupied roads, footpaths and other areas and structures otherwise meant for smooth traffic and pedestrian movement. Here everyone thinks of, and demands his own rights and interestingly, certain people have their own definition of ‘rights’. More often the drivers have no regard for other drivers and especially for pedestrians. Imagine the situation when most of the drivers are suffering from haughtiness, and flout all rules and regulations. Government vehicles and cars with name plates, particularly the high-end SUVs, are the worst traffic violators. As if they have exclusive rights on roads and the right to park at any place. In fact, senseless parking of vehicles everywhere adds more chaos to the situation. The anywhere parking mania has now gripped many people. Even no-parking signs don’t prove a deterrent for them. And yes, pedestrians are no less offensive. They can be seen walking in the middle of the road without a care. With the non serious and outrageous attitude of most of the traffic stakeholders, the traffic regulating authorities too have become lazy and complacent. Their only preferred concern remains smooth passage for VIPs and other dignitaries. Clearly regulating authorities need to chalk out a comprehensive plan to implement traffic rules and punish violators. The existing traffic rules necessarily require a review and change so that it proves effective deterrents against violators. Beyond people and police quality, roads and other infrastructure is a must for smooth traffic movement. Not properly designed and bad roads and encroachments are also responsible for traffic snarls. Anyways, our traffic problem is multidimensional with three important stakeholders- the people, traffic regulators, and R&B department. Unless we as law-abiding people will not change our attitude and behaviour on roads there will be no peace on roads but only traffic jams, accidents, and road rages. We have not only to cooperate with authorities but change our mindset. We should definitely stand up for our rights but only after we fulfill our duties. This traffic mess is leading us nowhere. Out of it we lose our precious time, money and on occasion our temper. Traffic regulating authorities have to change for good when people change their arrogant behaviour. They have to treat everyone, either VIP or common man equally. No discrimination! Traffic police should firmly chase traffic violators with a strong and justified yardstick of law. Authorities have to streamline its roads and buildings department with an infusion of new technology and techniques of road laying. All bottlenecks and encroachments need to be removed from roads. Properly designated stops for passenger carriers and parking places have to be marked. Indeed we need to adopt new traffic rules, new driving ethics on roads, new planning for road opening and relocating vendors to some new environment. Unless all stakeholders make visible positive contributions, nothing is going to change on our roads. The sooner it is done, better it will be for all of us.