Monday, July 15, 2024

Urban chaos

There is no second opinion that the volume of traffic in state capital Kohima, like all other places, is increasing with each passing day. The departments that take care of the roads and the movement of traffic on it have regularly been bolstering the infrastructure and upgrading the skills to meet the challenge, but the problem refuses to go away. The result is in front of us all. Even in these pandemic days when the graph of human activities is low than the usual, we encounter traffic jams that consume long hours. Not to speak of the PR Hill-TCP Gate route which is often in the news for worst traffic jams, even other city roads are witnessing terrible jams. Almost all routes within the capital city and those leading to it are now known for gridlocks. The major road that passes through Kohima town gives tough time to the traffic staff, and also to the commuters. The jams are horrible particularly during peak hours – morning time when people go to offices and to the business establishments, and evenings when they return back to homes. The jams are seen in all major junctions. These are the points that witness a huge rush of traffic, resulting in daily traffic jams. The situation is worsening with each passing day. In fact from the congested roads to congested residential colonies there is nothing in Kohima city that is not suffocating. It looks like an urban chaos, and that is it. Those who are living here and we know it is now a huge population, are living here because they have no other option. It is not a hyperbole to call it an unlivable place. In fact, Kohima was ranked as the second most “unlivable” city in the country by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) in 2018. Nothing much has changed since then despite the best effort of those in charge of the Kohima Smart City Development. Anyone who lives in this city, or comes to this place for routine work, can understand how chaotic this city has become. From the congested roads to congested residential colonies there is nothing in this city that is not suffocating. The dusty markets and choked interiors can tell you a horrible tale. There are huge houses everywhere in the city but the roads leading to these are too narrow for even a mid-sized car to pass through comfortably. Compounding the problem is the fact that almost all buildings have no parking space and vehicles are parked on the roadside making the narrow road narrower. There are hardly any spaces where people could breathe freely. There are no places where the children could go and play. The city, where some decades back we had ample spaces in each wards/colonies where we could breathe as a society, no longer exists. A drive through the interiors of the city can tell you how crowded the city has become. The main market places in the city are so disorganized that people would rather prefer not to shop there. The pavements for the pedestrians are gone (now it is where hawkers/vendors sell their wares), there are no parking lots and the parking spaces on roadsides are few and mismanaged. The traffic plying on the roads is so problematic that people cannot safely walk. In all this, how can you go to a market that is noisy, crowded, and dusty? Now take the case of public transport. People coming to the main town know how grueling it is to wait for the public transport and how much time it takes to cover a distance of a kilometre or two. This is the Kohima of today that we call a historic city. Unless some radical steps are taken to change the face of this city, it will one day become a hell for its dwellers. Something really revolutionary needs to be done by the government to restore the glory of this city.