Rashid Paul

Decongest or face action: HC tells Admin

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Traffic mess in Srinagar City…

Srinagar, Feb 19: The High Court on Tuesday directed the top state administration officials to file compliance with respect to its orders on freeing the city from the existing traffic mess within two weeks, failing which they shall personally be present before the court on the next date of hearing of the matter.

Adjudicating a public interest litigation (PIL) on the issue, a two judge bench said that the court in its order dated September 12, 2018, has already detailed out the issues involved in the instant PIL.

“It has accordingly, directed the respondents to file compliance in respect thereto. We need not reiterate the said issues any further. Let compliance be filed by the respondents within a period of two weeks, failing which the concerned officers shall remain present in person before the court on the next date of hearing,” the court said.

The officers include Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir; Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation; Vice-Chairman, Srinagar Development Authority; Inspector General of Police, Traffic, Kashmir, and Senior Superintendent of Police, Traffic, Srinagar.

The bench was informed that despite directions passed by the court from time to time, different vehicles like Sumos, maxi cabs, mini-buses, etc., are being parked on the roadside at Batamaloo Bus Stand.

The court directed the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, to ensure implementation of the directions passed by the court whereby it has put a restraint on parking of any vehicle in and outside the Batamaloo Bus Stand.

The officer has been asked to file compliance before the court on or before the next date of hearing, without any fail.

Advocate Anil Bhan, counsel representing the Indian Oil Corporation, submitted that despite directions passed by High Court on asking the Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, to submit compliance with respect to granting no objection certificates for setting up CNG stations in the city “same has not been done as on date”.

The Additional Advocate General informed the judges that compliance of order dated 12th of September, 2018, as regards the claim of the Indian Oil Corporation Limited will be submitted by next date of the case.

The matter has been listed on 19th of March, 2019.

Rationalization of routes and bus stops with proper timings of buses, establishment of pollution checking centers and identification of silent zones was pledged to be carried out by the government officers to decongest traffic mess in Srinagar after repeated court directions.

Regional Transport Officer (RTO) Kashmir claimed to have conducted an exercise on 20 routes for rationalization of routes, stops, timings and trips. Further work of rationalization is also being worked upon, he told the court.

The court has already ordered the SSP Traffic, RTO, SMC and SDA to rationalize the bus stops on all routes after ground study.

It has been decided by the Divisional Commissioner that the SSP Traffic Srinagar along with RTO Kashmir, SDA and SMC will identify bus stops

on all the intra-city routes phase by phase, and the SSP Traffic shall prioritize the identification of routes for identification of bus stops.

With regard to segregation of inter-city and intra-city transport, the court was told that the Transport Commissioner J&K, convened meetings to draw the attention of the DC Srinagar, Commissioner SMC; SSP Traffic and RTO Kashmir to court directions vide order dated 20.07.2017 in (PIL) No. 458/2003 titled Kashmir Consumer Welfare Forum V/s Commissioner Transport & ors.

For inter-city transport, it was stated that the inter-city transport mainly comprises of big buses, with two big bus operators plying buses from Srinagar to districts.

Kashmir Motor Services operates 230 buses from Srinagar to Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian, and Ganderbal Districts. Western Big Bus Services operates 475 buses from Srinagar to Kupwara, Baramulla, Bandipora, and Budgam towns, an official report said.

The intra-city transport mainly comprises of minibuses, with 1394 minibuses presently catering to the requirement of Srinagar city, it further informed.

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