SRINAGAR: With city roads witnessing a little improvement in traffic management, a bigger challenge to streamline the traffic is waiting ahead for traffic department as schools are reopening after winter vacations on March 1 across the Valley.
“The additional burden of school buses would really pose a challenge for us,” a traffic department official said.
“At the same time it is beyond the capacity of 300 men who have to keep standing for more than 12 hours to streamline the traffic of such a huge number of vehicles.”
As per the officials at traffic department, there are about 250 to 300 men available with department who could be deployed in summer capital to streamline the moment of more than 13 lakh vehicles operating on Srinagar roads.
He said that to get rid of the daily traffic woes, there was requirement of at least 1500 men only in Srinagar with training in art of managing the traffic.
“The main reason for traffic mess in commercial hub (Lal Chowk) is wrong parking by people. The shopkeepers either park their vehicles on sideways of main route or keep them on by-lanes blocking the traffic moment. They could have parked their vehicles at parking places but unfortunately we don’t have many,” says the official.
Secondly, he said, encroachers have eaten up major chunk of footpath places by putting their essentials and stalls, which apart from creating hurdles for smooth running of traffic also forces pedestrians to maneuver through the main road.
Private Schools Associations of Kashmir, president, G N Var told Kashmir Reader that the hassle-free moment of buses carrying school children is the ‘biggest concern’ the private schools are worried about.
“Many times, we wrote to divisional commissioner and traffic department and requested them to take measures for smooth running of school buses, but, as usual, our grievances went off unheard,” Var said.
Var said that there are about 300 private schools functioning from Srinagar who own more than 400 vehicles, majority of them owned by schools falling in the areas where traffic jams are routine affair.
He said that the “rampant corruption” in the traffic department and inefficiency of department officials were the main reasons responsible for the worst traffic mess in city.
He added that the vehicles parked on the main spots by government forces with concertina wires encircling them have added more miseries to free flow of traffic as “at many places they become bottlenecks for traffic and pedestrian moment”.
Senior Superintended of Police, Sargun Shukla told Kashmir Reader that the traffic police was fully prepared to tackle any challenge.
“In a phased manner, we are taking every possible measure to streamline the traffic and keep smooth running of traffic in city. To an extent, we have been successful in minimizing the traffic chaos and lot is to be done in future,” Shukla said.
She said that the department has hired 700 additional manpower that were undergoing ‘traffic management training’ and would be deployed in Srinagar.
Seeking cooperation from public and other departments, Shukla said that her department was facing hurdles due to incompletion of some developmental projects that were forcing them to put up diversions at some points.