Traffic morass

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With each passing days, more and more vehicles are being added to the roads. Statistics indicate that on a daily average around hundred vehicles are being added in Dimapur. The volume of traffic is going to increase alarmingly in the coming days. With almost no major road network projects being undertaken in the city, and with the growing population, it seems quite difficult to imagine the future of road transportation system in the city. Every stakeholder need necessarily to think the future implication and plausible solutions. Major steps need to be undertaken in order to ensure that this problem does not get more grave or uncontrollable. As good citizens, we get deeply upset each time we find people jumping the lane and crossing from the wrong side. There is a Japanese proverb, which says that darkness reigns at the foot of the lighthouse. We all are a witness to this driving mess, especially as we approach some traffic junction of the city. The gross violations of traffic rules have further messed up the smooth traffic flow because of the cascading effect. Whenever such a nasty act is observed, a sensible person starts asking number of questions to himself. Why do they do so? Is there any word called discipline and ethics in their dictionary? Do they understand the concept of traffic rules, regulations, human safety, and respect for the law? Many such questions keep on bothering us. Every time while waiting for the traffic personnel in a traffic point, one observes vehicles cruising and breaking the rules, especially autorickshaws and two wheelers. In such an awful situation, a law-abiding person feels like a stupid person waiting for the turn to come, before cranking the engine. All sort of vehicles, big and small, two wheelers and four wheelers, sedans and SUVs, public and private, official and unofficial, lady driven and gentlemen driven, keep on passing the junction and violating the law, without any compunction. Is this situation a reflection of our sick driving habits, or is it a consequence of the conflict the region has witnessed since years. The statement is debatable. Although, different ideas have been implemented a number of times to set the traffic right, yet there is a tremendous scope for innovative ideas to regulate the traffic and manage it differently. The traffic implementing agencies need to involve the public in the struggle to rectify the process, by obtaining innovative ideas, views, and proposals from them, with cash rewards and appreciation for best pragmatic ideas. They should then try to implement few of them and monitor the results. This would garner a public support and people would feel their responsibility to correct the system. Also, effective public awareness programmes need to be conducted regularly in the schools, colleges, universities and other organizations. Road shows and traffic drills could also be quite helpful for urban transporters including Sumo, taxi driver unions, auto-rickshaw drivers etc. The RTO and traffic police agencies should make it mandatory for the drivers to attend certification programmes (e.g. may be a one day course) conducted by reliable agencies, wherein the people are educated on this front. The licence issuing authorities should also make such programs mandatory before issuing licences. Traffic management courses should be designed and implemented in the school curriculum for making the children understand its importance right from early stage. Due to shortage of the traffic police personals in the city, empower the citizens like students and employees of schools, colleges, universities and other institutions so that they are given a charge and responsibility to monitor and control the traffic flow at major junctions and cross roads of the city. Identify such institutions in the city and develop a timetable for them, so that at least one day in six months, few personals of these organizations assume responsibility and are deployed in the city. This will also motivate the students and inculcate a sense of social responsibility. In fact many other ideas need to be generated, discussed and implemented. It is important that interdisciplinary teams with people from different occupations and professions be formulated to regularly interact and support the traffic agencies in obtaining solution to this dynamic and grave problem of traffic morass.