Inadequate and Insufficient

Inadequate and Insufficient
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A city, in terms of its functionality, ease of commute, aesthetics, is as good as its transportation system. Key to all here is efficient, effective and equitable public policy that determines the nature of a given transport system. But, Kashmir, being no exception to this general observation, fails on this important front and dimension. Public transport here is abysmal , inadequate and ineffective. The onus of blame falls on poor public policy; it is neither market based nor does it correspond to any other policy paradigm. The result is a cacophony of issues and problems that redound negatively to the people and their welfare thereof. One salient and glaring problem that emerges from this is the stress on roads that along with many peoples’ propensity to buy private cars makes traffic in Kashmir a chaotic mess. This, to repeat is the obvious issue and in the nature of a manifestation of a deeper malaise. If public transport in Kashmir were efficient and effective, then the stress and pressure on the city’s( or even the region’s) roads and urban infrastructure would be considerably ameliorated. Moreover, there would even be more business and commercial activity. This point needs elaboration. A typical business day, especially during winters in Kashmir only stretches to a few hours, say five to seven hours because days are shorter. The major reason for this is that after or just before dusk , there is virtually no public transport. Whatever residual transport facility exists at or around this hour is drivers going home. This has a “natural” effect on the number and volume of people in the city because many or most people do not still own private forms of transport. This condition acts as a deterrent or call , if you may, an incentive to go home early thereby undercutting business and commerce especially in the city centres of Kashmir. If transport were effective and efficient, there is a likelihood that people would not return home as they usually do thus enhancing commercial as well as social activities. There is also the issue of supply and demand. That is, the increase in population and demographic pressures thereof have not been matched by adequate provision of public transport, thereby, in the process creating an additional layer of pressures and leading to problems for the people. This condition needs to be remedied in a holistic and comprehensive manner in an idiom which redounds to the benefit of the people.