Death dancing on our roads

IS ANYBODY THERE TO TAKE CARE. WE ARE LOSING LIVES, WE NEED A REGULATION. THE WAY IT’S GOING ON WILL THROW THE SITUATION OUT OF GEAR AND WE WILL BE LEFT HELPLESS

Our poor roads and messy traffic system collectively are virtual death traps. The ‘lord of death’ shows no mercy in exploiting our traffic disorder to the best of his capacity. Every highway and road in Kashmir is smeared with blood of innocent victims of mismanaged traffic system and arrogance of irresponsible drivers. Few days back a young NIT (National Institute of Technology) student at Srinagar’s one of the busiest and prominent road fell prey to the reckless and arrogant driving of some ‘Raiees zada’. Reckless driving with an illegally modified speeding car ended in a most horrible tragedy. Illegally and irrationally Modified Skodas, BMWs,Sedans, SUVs, and other harsh speeding death machines acquired and recklessly driven  by these ‘bad guys’ are modern incarceration of ‘Yamar?ja’- trampling and wiping out innocents like flies. The unending flow of unaccounted money, a manifestation of rampant corruption has complicated the situation further, encouraging people of this order to flout laws and rules with impunity. If previous records and statistics of such grave criminal negligence of death and loss due to negligent and rash driving will be put to analysis, an embarrassing figure of least number of convictions will unfold. With money power and resultant enormous clout at their back, this progeny of shameless people manage and manipulate rules in their favor and continue with killing and maiming innocent souls on the streets of Kashmir.   

It is a brute reality now that for last many years more people die of road accidents than because of any other unnatural ways. This situation is quite alarming! With every passing day the rate of road accidents increases and unfortunately both administration and people at large seem to bother least and show no concern about this frightening situation of bereavement. Ignoring these tragic deaths, a day will come when a substantial portion of our society will not only be devastated by the ‘devil’ of traffic chaos but a large population will suffer of grave and irreversible physical, social and economic injury. If this situation of huge crisis is not handled in right earnest it will assume a terrible situation taking toll of our much valued resources, manpower and expertise.

Present disorientated traffic scenario in the valley can not be attributable to lack of infrastructure and resources only. A considerable part of it is indication of inefficiency and lack of will on part of the administrative apparatus directly or indirectly related with and responsible for managing traffic system on our roads. With a cursory look on the working pattern of the traffic management of our state, it appears primarily two departments, traffic police and transport authority hold key to traffic management and regulation in the state. But, on ground there is total lack of coordination between the traffic police personnel and transport department functionaries (RTOs and ARTOs) and very rarely traffic police authorities can be seen working in coordination with transport authorities while enforcing traffic rules and prosecuting traffic violators. Any modification in shape, mechanism and power of any of the vehicles on road is subjected to permission from concerned transport authority, but if we go through the prosecution details of our traffic regulatory authority all those hundreds of unauthorized ‘made to order’ vehicles running on streets of valley had always gone unnoticed. These modified cars are virtual moving death traps both for the drivers and other people on the road, as every technically designed model of vehicle looses its degree of aerodynamic properties by irrigational tampering for additional speed and thrill. Load or passenger carrying capacity of commercial and private vehicles is duly regulated and notified by the transport authority from time to time, but all these rules are not only violated, but violated brazenly in presence of ignorant and least concerned traffic cops. This violation of capacity regulation had usually proven fatal in case of mini buses and particularly ‘Tata Sumo’ passenger carriers are deadlier. Rash driving, lane jumping, road rage, use of mobile phone while driving and other violations are very common on the roads of valley mostly in Srinagar city and considerably contribute in ever increasing number of traffic accidents. Very rarely, cops take cognizance of these violations of significant potential of damage and death.

It is a reality that number of traffic cops to regulate traffic and enforce traffic laws is not sufficient to handle extent and composition of traffic to be managed on our roads. Few hundred cops managing thousands of traffic units is mockery of traffic management. Isn’t it ridiculous, that government can afford to put thousands of police personnel with VVIPs as PSOs, and is incapable to depute a battalion of cops additionally on much needed traffic management duty? Surprisingly, to overcome this shortfall, traffic police authorities resort to novel techniques; bothering least about the plight of common commuter on the roads, they keep track of VIP movements, station their personnel (informers) around the residences of VVIPs and ensure a smooth passage fort them; rest all are condemned to hell.

Another most vital aspect of our traffic confusion is lack of cooperation from public mostly the drivers. At peak hours every one on road from pedestrian to drivers go crazy and want to push their way at any cost showing no signs of respect for rules. No authority can run the traffic organization with out the active support of common people. Especially, erroneous overtaking, rash driving, road rage and jumping lanes can be managed, only, by the active support of common man. The main bottlenecks in smooth traffic movement within Srinagar city get worst with lack of support and cooperation from people on roads. Traffic jams at Zainakot crossing, Batmaloo, Rambagh crossing, Abdullah bridge, Patha Chowk, Lal Chowk, Budshah chowk, TRC crossing and at many other crossings and junctions within the old city are result of people’s selfish approach and uninspiring attitude of traffic cops. Traffic jams at these selected junctions can easily be minimized and ultimately managed by proper monitoring with latest electronic gadgetry and strict law enforcement.

In fact, the traffic super cops and their subordinates have to come out of their shell and shun their fascination for ‘VIP’ syndrome; work in close coordination with transport authorities, other related agencies and ‘Aam admi’ in the best interest of their professional ethics and betterment of the society. Otherwise, unknowingly they will be the real culprits of pushing people into the furnace of death and destruction lit by inattentive administration, arrogance of selfish commuters, reckless drivers and shameless traffic violators.

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