Srinagar: The traffic diversion plan executed by the government during the past two days has created chaos on city roads because several policy decisions that were required to make it a success have not been implemented.
Before diverting traffic on various routes, the divisional commissioner Kashmir was required to ensure the Batamaloo General Bus Stand is shifted to Parimpora. He had been asked by traffic department five months ago that if the bus stand stays at Batamaloo, traffic mess can’t be avoided. The traffic department had foreseen that for traffic diversion they would have to close Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh road for traffic because of the construction work on the flyover.
Samoon was not available for his comments.
Temporary tin sheds have been erected at Parimpora at the behest of a politician from the ruling party, apparently for the 2014 flood victims who have allegiance with the party.
Readiness was also expected on part of government departments such as Roads and Buildings (R&B), Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) and Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) before diverting traffic.
These departments were part of the committee, led by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, which had been set up to oversee implementation of the diversion plan.
The R&B department had to ensure widening and development of Batamaloo-Mominabad road by clearing bottlenecks, erection of road dividers on edges, and development of entry and exit points at the Batamaloo bus stand, installation of height barriers and macdamistion and repair of roads. These works are either in progress or not taken up at all.
Chief engineer R&B Satish Razdan said, “The process of widening is in progress at Tengpora-Mominabad stretch, which is posing problems as it is marshy. We could not install height barriers because of law and order problem at Mehjoor Nagar,” he said.
Also, the construction of the damaged ramp near women’s police station Rambagh, blacktopping of road from Rambagh to Jehangir Chowk and development of Gogjibagh-New Convent Bund road for facilitating two-way traffic at Rambagh assigned to ERA are incomplete.
Some works that had to be finished before the diversion plan was implemented were actually begun on Wednesday, when the diversion happened. These works include installation of road signs and concrete road barriers at Rambagh. However, instead of metallic road signs, the authorities hastily put up flex banners. The concrete barriers were also placed on Wednesday.
Director ERA Basharat Ahmad Malik said the ramp would be completed on Thursday ahead of the deadline. He added the concrete barriers could not be laid due to traffic on the road.
“Gogji Bagh Bund road was not assigned to the ERA and the macadmistation work could be undertaken due to weather constraints,” he added.
Another department, which failed to complete its work in time is SMC. The corporation was told to clear road encroachments by vendors at Batamaloo, Jehangir Chowk, SMHS Hospital, LD Hospital, Qamarwari, Karan Nagar, Safakadal, Dalgate and Sonawar.
But a report informing the Divisional Commissioner’s office about the preparations for the traffic diversion plan says “no encroachment drives were taken up by the corporation”.
Commissioner SMC Bashir Khan, however, claimed 75 percent of encroachments have been removed.
“It will take time to remove all. We won’t allow encroachers to occupy roads which will hinder flow of traffic,” he said.
The traffic department itself had to prepare for the plan by increasing the strength of its force for traffic regulation.
Traffic senior superintendent of police (City) Maqsood-ul-Zaman said the department has called 200 cops from the police force for traffic regulation
“While 150 personnel are on job, 50 more will be joining us within a few days,” he said.