Car(istan)

Car(istan)

Among the common and ubiquitous sights across the length and breadth of Kashmir are cars or , in technical parlance, Light Motor Vehicles(LMV’s). The concomitant to the immense volume of cars in Kashmir are traffic snarls and jams. All this has to do with the penchant for owning cars in Kashmir among the people, rendered somewhat easier by the easier and relaxed funding by banks. Per se, there is no harm in owning a private motor vehicle. These forms of transport make life, in terms of logistics, much easier and generate other forms of efficiencies. But, owning cars become a problem when it becomes an obsession, a problem that has badly smitten the people of Kashmir. If logistical ease and efficiency were the only reasons for buying cars, it would not have amounted to a great issue or problem. But, when owning a car becomes a matter of pride, prestige and social status, then it assumes the form a nagging problem which gets compounded because of an infrastructural deficit in Kashmir. The reference here is to the extant infrastructure of roads, lanes, by lanes and so on. Because the demand for cars is huge and because roads and their condition thereof is the same (or , in certain cases) has regressed, the “natural” consequences are traffic jams and snarls. A distance that, on a given day, under normal conditions, that should take thirty minutes to traverse, takes an hour and a half or so. These unwarranted delays can, at times, even be fatal, say when an ambulance gets stuck in a traffic jam. The overall problem is also compounded by bad driving skills of most motorists in Kashmir; the stupendous volume of cars , needless to say, also cause environmental problems, mostly, in the form of pollution. This particular problem can be obviated to a large extent by devising an efficient public transportation system, something that is sorely missing in Kashmir and is badly needed, for obvious reasons. A good and efficient transport system can also lead to urban declutter in cities and other allied urban areas. But, in the ultimate analysis, the solution , also lies with people. No one can be stopped from exercising consumer choice but people must make do with less. Say, if a family owns one car, it must not take recourse to buying another. Car pooling can be used by people living in same neighborhoods and so on. The problem of the volume of cars is a serious issue that warrants attention. Let us act before it is too late.