Stuck in traffic


Traffic jams in Dimapur on Monday (Oct 15) was unending almost throughout the day, particularly the route leading to the town. The jam began early morning from the school going hours, with students stuck in the jam for more than 3-4 hours along the Purana Bazar-Burma Camp route. The situation was same in all other major junctions in the town. While traffic jams in Dimapur has become a regular affair, Monday’s jam was compounded by the closure of the approach road near Nagarjan Bridge in view of development of cracks on the road since Sunday. As of today, there are only two entry points into Dimapur town from Chumukedima side – the new Dhansiri Bridge along the Purana Bazaar-Burma Camp route and the less travelled Rangapahar-Thahekhu road. The new Dhansiri Bridge is also in a precarious state and with it taking the load of the city traffic as well as inter-state goods vehicles, there is every danger of it developing cracks and become dangerous for travellers. Now with the onset of the festive season, traffic snarls is expected to become worse with only two entry points into the town. An hour-long ride will become a 5-6 hours grind. There can’t be any magic solution with the traffic department. The trouble is inevitable. Huge increase in the number of private and public vehicles plying on the narrow and congested roads have disrupted life to the extent that nobody expects to reach his or her destination safe and in time once stepping out of home. There is also the total deterioration in the condition of roads leading to and in the town. In fact, one can say that there are literally no pliable roads in Dimapur. From Chumukedima to Dimapur town, the National Highway is in a pathetic state with large potholes lining the roads. There are literally no roads from Purana Bazaar till Diphupar Junction. The roads inside Dimapur town are in no better condition. Clearly if a person can be judged by the shoes he wears, can we also judge the efficiency/inefficiency of the Government by the condition of the roads? But let’s not talk about roads or its absence in Dimapur; and concentrate on the serpentine gridlock that commuters faces every day in Dimapur, costing time and money. The absence of planning is evident from the regular traffic jams that we face on a daily basis. However, this is made worse by total inability and incompetence of the traffic police to control and manage city traffic. There is total lack of traffic sense among the drivers as well as those who regulate traffic. One is unable to imagine where this is going to lead us to. There are no plans of widening the city roads; there are no plans of building by-passes and subways; there are no plans of constructing overhead bridges for the pedestrians; there is no concrete and decisive programme of removing encroachment of footpaths; there is no seriousness about removing the hawkers from creating congestion in traffic and there is no punishment for those who grossly violate traffic rules like parking at odd places, stopping in the middle of the road or auto rickshaws stopping at will without care. Dimapur traffic is presenting a glorious picture of chaos and confusion. The traffic police often look as helpless onlookers allowing the vehicle drivers use their freewill. And all the while it appears senior officers of the traffic police are leisurely sitting in their office rooms. Clearly if there were officers supervising traffic cops at least in some major junctions of the town, it would ease the traffic snarls to a large extent. As it is, traffic jams in the city have become every day routine that people have now even stopped complaining about it because complaints are not heard nor remedied. Here it is understood that the complicated traffic snarls and gridlocks will find no end till the whole scenario is addressed on infrastructural front with strict law enforcement as priority. Traffic management is not a procedure of balancing chemical equations, where the time tested ‘hit and trial’ method can be adopted when everything fails. And changing the traffic cop for efficient traffic management every now and then will yield nothing but will add to the confusion. In fact at the end of the day it is the managerial skill, dedication and impartiality along with a mechanism of well-oiled man and machine that matters the most.