Even though traffic mismanagement has all along been a characteristic feature of Kashmir’s roads and streets, for the past many years, particularly since the work on couple of flyover projects in Srinagar uptown was started, the chaos and confusion has increased manifold. In fact two of the most vital traffic arteries have been impacted by these projects, which are refusing to reach anywhere near completion. Notwithstanding the enormous trouble both pedestrians and motorists have been put to because of the tardy pace of work on these projects, nobody – neither the construction companies executing the projects nor the government seems to be bothered. Past week people were informed that one of the construction companies has even been slapped with a fine for employing sub-optimal machinery and human resource, and having missed yet another deadline for completion of the project. But this hardly changes anything. The fact that on any given point of time there are not more than a dozen people working on these big projects speaks about the absolute lack of concern there is for the people’s problems.
There is another major problem which is again a huge factor for the traffic troubles. This is the unwritten agreement between the men in Khaki and the roadside vendors wherein they scratch each-others’ backs. Despite encroachments by both shopkeepers and roadside vendors having shrunk the street spaces and being a major reason for frustrating traffic snarls and jams, no action is being taken to free the roads and streets for the smooth vehicular movement.
Still another reason is the absence of a good and reliable public transport on different routes.
Whatever the reason(s), fact of the matter remains that nobody seems to be bothered about the hardships and hassles faced by the common people as a result of increased traffic gridlocks, that certainly puts brakes on people s mobility for hours on an average besides wasting enormous amounts of fuels and adding to both noise and air pollution. Even though there is a separate wing of police for the management of traffic -- the Traffic Police -- but owing to its failures to live up to its duties, its utility itself has come under a big question mark. The statement may no doubt seem too harsh, but given the fact that this agency has not been able to perform to anybody’s expectations, people’s misgivings vis-à-visits efficiency are not unfounded. If the chaos and confusion which has become a characteristic feature evident everywhere on the roads and streets of the state is taken as a pointer, it goes without saying that Traffic Police appears only a big and unnecessary burden on the state exchequer.
While the common people are suffering more or less on every count of traffic management, this agency vested with the responsibility of maintaining some semblance of law on roads in terms of vehicular traffic and its regulation is seen doing precious little for it. Instead, owing to the rampant corruption which plagues it, the cops have over the years perfected the art of minting money. And for this, they have long back mortgaged people’s life and liberties to the errant drivers who in turn get away with anything after greasing the palms of the men in blues .
There is no dearth of instances wherein one can see that the lack of imaginative creativity together with lack of proper management skills on part of Traffic Police. The traffic matters are complicated so much so that the common people have to bear the brunt of traffic mismanagement in terms of their safety and precious time. Day in and day out people have to suffer worse only because those manning this all-important wing of traffic, as well as the territorial police are not competent enough to do what they are supposed to do. The only thing that cops know perfectly well is how to extort money from the people. For this they need no excuses; with our without reason they know how to catch people on the wrong foot.