Srinagar: Even after Durbar moved to Jammu and government appointed an advisor on traffic management, the traffic mobility in Kashmir is turning bad to worse.
To streamline the movement of traffic in J&K, the State Government appointed an Ahmadabad-based “landscape architect” Anuj Malhotra as its advisor for traffic planning and designing on August 11. However, the mobility of traffic has not improved despite his pieces of advice and a lesser number of vehicles on roads in the winter.
“I don’t find any difference in traffic movement for past one year. It is going worse with each passing day,” said a senior officer Muzaffar Ahmad of Hyderpora. Ahmad travels to Lal Chowk every day and being stuck in a traffic jam has become a normal part of his life. “Every morning and evening, I will have to spend 30-45 minutes in a traffic jam in Jahangir Chowk,” he said.
Malhotra has been appointed on the “recommendation” of Tasaduq Mufti, brother of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, as traffic advisor for a period of one year, extendable to three years as per requirement.
As per the government order, Malhotra’s post is equivalent to an officer of the level of secretary in J&K.
However, officials have raised questions on the qualification of Malhotra for being a traffic advisor.
“I am surprised to see how a landscape architect will help in streamlining the traffic mobility here. I believe it is nothing more than an engagement of a friend in government sector by the people at the helm of affairs,” said a senior official.
They say Malhotra is futuristic in approach and ignores the present. “His thrust is people should prefer walking on foot and avoid using vehicles,” said an official.
To streamline traffic on Abdullah Bridge at Raj Bagh, Malhotra has designed a c-shaped barrier of traffic poles. However, an official said a vehicle would take 4 seconds to pass the turnaround and after the poles were erected each vehicle takes 10 seconds.
“He has added nearly 6 seconds for each vehicle to pass through the turnaround which has aggravated the traffic jams there,” he said
Officials said that appointment of Malhotra has added to the traffic woes as he has occupied the chair without bringing any immediate relief.
They said that the proposed turnaround at GN Bakery, Polo View by Malhotra turned out to be a big failure and was abandoned.
Malhotra has not talked about bottlenecks, potholes and other distractions on roads in the city, they said. “Instead, he is stressing his bosses to establish cycle tracks to ease the traffic movement,” they said.
As per the rules, Malhotra shall provide technical inputs and budgetary recommendations for all urban design and transport-related projects in the state.
“He shall recommend and assist in creating the Urban Design/Urban Transport in the state which in the initial stage shall be established in the office of Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir,” reads the government order.
The order says that the traffic advisor shall act as de-facto Technical Director of the new Urban Design or Urban Transport Cell. He shall create new initiatives, projects and programs on the urban transport and urban design for the betterment of the cities and the life of the residents in the state, the order adds.
“He shall recommend deputation of technical staff from the other departments of the state government, as felt necessary, for the projects undertaken by the cell. He shall extend consultation/advice for the hiring of consultants/firms as necessary for the projects to be undertaken by the cell. All his emoluments shall be borne by the Transport Department,” reads the order.