Even though traffic mismanagement has all along been a characteristic feature of Kashmir’s roads and streets, for the past few years the chaos and confusion has been increasing steadily. Today the situation has reached such a point that it seems almost impossible to travel in Srinagar city without facing hours of disconcerting traffic jams, which besides wasting people’s time and patience also burdens their purse by way of increasing the costs of fuel and vehicle wear and tear.
It is not difficult to assign causes for this surge in traffic chaos for there are so many visible reasons for it, which for some reasons the concerned authorities seem to overlook. Take for instance the case of two flyover projects in the Srinagar city. Despite having missed so many deadlines, the agencies vested with the construction of these flyovers do not seem to be in any hurry to complete these projects. If the tardy pace of construction on these projects is taken as an indicator, it goes without saying that these are not going to be commissioned any time soon. So the people will have to bear with the hardships on this count.
Another reason for the traffic mess is absence of a good and reliable public transport system, which leaves people with no choice but to use their personal vehicles for going to places which of course has a direct bearing on the number of vehicles on the roads. Needless to say that if a proper public transport system is put in place, it will encourage people to not use personal vehicles which would automatically bring down the number of vehicles on roads and streets and accordingly less the problems of traffic mismanagement.
There are countless other reasons as well which could be cited as being responsible for the traffic mess here. And the unfortunate reality is 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.
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, peoples’ misgivings vis-à-vis its 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 peoples’ life and liberty 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 are not competent enough to do what they are supposed to do. The only thing that Traffic 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”.
Ideally those found guilty of violating traffic rules are to be fined and the money thus realized deposited in the government exchequer. But this happens very rarely. Instead much of this money finds its way into the pockets of the cops. Now if anyone at the helm says they are not aware of this, then they are simply lying. Because this corruption operates in such a well-organized manner that one is forced to believe that some portion of this sleazy money reaches each and every step in the hierarchical ladder of the organization. Refuting this is like shutting eyes to the reality. Those at the helm should be magnanimous enough to accept the faults and errors plaguing the Traffic Police.