Saturday, June 22, 2024

Traffic tangle

It can be said that next to civic disorder of garbage mismanagement, the two major cities in Nagaland -Dimapur and Kohima – have surrendered to traffic mess. This situation of deadlock in traffic is not only because of rising number of vehicles or due to narrow, encroached and dilapidated roads but the genesis of this growing confusion lies with our rogue traffic and several devious elements within our traffic system. Certainly, unrestricted and unbalanced growth in number of vehicles and bad roads contribute substantially to traffic disorder but the situation of despair is more because of traffic mismanagement, lack of traffic sense and unruliness on part of one and all – drivers, commuters and other traffic stakeholders. A very careful and precise drive on any of the roads in Dimapur or Kohima, or any of its connecting highways, will give you a firsthand experience of frustrating traffic disorder and its perceptible causes. Particularly, such drive at peak hours exposes the tall claims of traffic regulators and reveals shameless appearance and behavior of many drivers and other people on wheels. Often the desperation of traffic cops on major intersections in the two cities is noticeable; desperately trying to regulate traffic but all goes down the drains. Fate of disciplined and humble drivers is no less disgraceful as very often they become victim of road rage and insult at the hands of rogues. Habitually a section of rude drivers don’t regard and follow traffic rules and signals, making traffic regulators incapable of handling the confusion. Arguments and road rage is now a routine on our roads, particularly in Dimapur roads. Several sections of public transport system are not only habitual traffic violators but they very often resort to road rage over petty issues. Wrong parking leading to logjams and rude behavior is part of their daily routine. They flout every traffic rule with impunity and cops in duress behave as mute spectators. Auto-rickshaws in Dimapur and local taxis as well as the recently introduced two-wheel taxis in Kohima are virtual rulers on wheels; mostly driven by younger people always in hurry and eager to earn more in shortest possible time. The zonal taxis and mini buses are not far behind. These passenger vehicles of all shapes and sizes practically rule every mile of our road network. The other category of rogue drivers is load carriers, particularly the tippers. These killer machines almost rule our roads, particularly in the evenings when they are allowed to enter the city premises. Once they cross into the city limits the whole city and its inhabitants are at the mercy of these mad tippers. A sizeable section of private vehicle owners, mostly the younger generation, also indulges in usual traffic violations. Rash driving, deadly overtaking, using mobile phone while driving and traffic stunts is a routine on their part. Presently, wrong parking of all types of vehicles has become the biggest hurdle in smooth flow of traffic in the main business centers of Dimapur city and majority of our drivers shamelessly resort to this practice of arrogance. A cursory look on the working pattern of our traffic regulators will explode the myth of traffic regulation. Instead of using existing traffic rules and regulations as deterrent for any future violation our cops lay traps at few strategic points to nab the violators, only to achieve assigned targets. This novel but materialistic working pattern of traffic watchdogs is not only illogical but makes fun of existing traffic rules. For last many years the graph of fatal traffic accidents in the state has increased many folds and many precious lives were lost for no fault of theirs. We should not always blame the government and cry over bad roads or increasing traffic, instead some introspection can lead us to a different aspect of our ailing traffic system – the rogue traffic. To minimize traffic pain and agony these elements of confusion along with few erring regulators need to be tamed at the earliest. A long term strategy and approach of regulating growth of traffic, improving roads and mopping up these rogue elements will relieve us of this chaotic traffic tangle.