For the past few weeks Traffic Police have embarked on an initiative of slapping fines on the wrongly parked vehicles. However, this measure has been taken only in and around the city centre Lal Chowk and adjoining markets in the Civil Lines areas. And here too the cops in blue uniforms are very selective in pasting fines on the vehicles – doing it at their own sweet choice and will – punishing some and letting certain others go scot-free, which is indeed a huge cause of popular heart-ache. For instance, along the Exhibition road or for that matter the Karan Nagar, Jawahar Nagar and other uptown areas, the parking of private vehicles on the roadside continues to be a huge problem, which is hampering vehicular traffic in big way and causing great inconvenience to the people. But no action is initiated against the wrong parking in these areas.
Interestingly, in Karan Nagar area, while some action is initiated against the ordinary people for parking their vehicles on roadside, no such action is taken against dozens of second-hand car dealerships there, who occupy a substantial chunk of road space. Same is the case with Exhibition road. While the flyover project passing through the area has been left mid-way without being completed, the road patches running beneath it are in absolute shambles. As if this was not enough, the vehicles remaining parked on it are adding to the problems of the motorists passing the area. Numerous instances could be cited to prove that the Traffic Police remains confined to a few select areas only, while other areas of the city never really come under the official radar.
Be it the SMHS Hospital or for that matter SKIMS Soura or JLNM Hospital in Rainawari – each of these places faces official neglect in terms of traffic management and regulation. Now if the concerned civic and police authorities are not able to properly manage the vehicular traffic and parking outside these important health institutions, it should not be difficult to guess how the situation is elsewhere.
Actually one of the major problems plaguing traffic management in the Valley is that the concerned government agencies have never really bothered to have what is known as prospective planning. While the number of motor vehicles has exponentially multiplied over the years, the road spaces have remained more or less static, and their condition only deteriorating with each passing day. Similarly, while the government remained busy in earning more and more money by way of registration fees and road tax from new and old vehicles, no amount of this revenue or for that matter creative intellectual input was invested in engineering good roads and arranging parking spaces. And today, the situation has reached a point where the city seems to be bursting open not only at seems but even in the middle due to share size of vehicular traffic.
Making matters worse is the corruption in various agencies – SMC, Traffic Police and even the territorial police. All these agencies realize a constant stream of sleazy money (‘Hafta’) from roadside vendors, commercial transporters and others, and in turn allow them a free run to use roads and streets, footpaths and sidewalks as if it were their personal estates! Unless and until all these different agencies are tamed and made accountable for their mandated jobs, the measures like selectively slapping fines on the wrongly parked vehicles will remain only cosmetic ones without yielding any worthwhile results.