Smart cities: Don’t mess up the idea 

Srinagar: Traffic mess is taking a toll on the people here in the Valley. Commuters, both rural and urban are feeling hapless. The issues plaguing the traffic and the transport system in the state have not been addressed. Why, the reasons can be many, but one section that cannot escape the responsibility of making a mess of the traffic and transport system are the officials of various departments who poke their nose unnecessarily and make a mess of everything.

Road mishaps, traffic mismanagement and other ills of the transport sector have been hogging the headlines for many years now. Hardly a day passes off when newspapers do not report traffic woes, road mishaps and the bad condition of roads and mismanagement in this sphere.

But, what has come to light is that these efforts by the fourth estate are going a waste,as the officials of various departments who could have joined their heads together and tried to work out a solution, look the other way.

Knowing that the state is a hilly state and the roads are all tortuous, fatal road accidents are a recurring feature. Of course the Traffic Department is often calling meetings of experts and consultants to advise them on the improvement of traffic yet no substantial results have been achieved so far. The net result is that the road mishaps on the hilly areas are continuing and people are facing death and lifelong disabilities besides, the mental and physical torture.

Just two days back three people were killed in South Kashmir’s Kapran area when their vehicle skidded off the road and fell into  deep gorge.

What is being witnessed that the government too is not taking a holistic view on the issue. Traffic and transport woes have to be dealt with various agencies coming together and form a scientific approach and plan.

The Transport, Traffic Police and Municipal Corporations and town area committees need to be tasked for this important assignment together so that a policy is arrived at where the people across the board can heave a sigh of relief.

But the question is whether the Transport Department is really and sincerely prepared to bring about drastic reforms in its functionality and plan for modernization of urban transport and help in improving the scenario at the rural level.

One fails to understand the logic behind the transport department’s policy of approving the public transport vehicles both at the rural and the urban level. Travelling in a city or an urban minibus with crumbed legs like cattle with just 18 seats but more than 50 passengers made to commute treating them as cattle is one glaring example of the failures of the officials. Second the size of the seats is such that two adults hardly fit in the seats with no leg room to even sit in a comfortable posture.

It’s ironic that the state government is asking for the status of smart cities for the twin Capital cities of the state, but has the government ever wondered that what are the parameters for the public transport vehicles for these smart cities.

What should be the traffic management plan and what are the facilities that are needed to be put in place for the commuters. These questions need to be answered first before dreaming about the status of smart cities. 





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