The new look and the old problems!
In 1973 in my sixth standard I had the chance to learn a Persian lesson—‘Dar rah yak na-bina aast, Dar dasti oee chiraag aast——’. The moral of the lesson was that a blind man walking on the street carrying a light in his hand would otherwise appear surprising, but he carries it (light) not for himself, but for others on the street, so that they won’t get hurt by colliding in the darkness. In the contemporary era of technological advancement and modernization this lesson applies well for our traffic management system, as our much esteemed administration has recently reinstalled traffic signal lights on much busy and prominent intersections of the Srinagar city to lead the rowdy traffic out of darkness. Looking forward optimistically, I hope the lights will symbolically prove to be the blind man’s light (Here blindness is a virtue—virtue of sincerity) and will lead the people of Kashmir out of the monstrous traffic mess. Traffic confusion is haunting this valley and its people for last many years and to overpower it government adopted many strategies and tried every ploy to contain it. Many plans were devised and put in action, but the chaotic traffic stands unmoved like ever increasing stray dogs. At the moment, after vexed political situation, loads of Garbage, menacing dogs and traffic confusion are the most crucial issue faced by the people of Kashmir and their rulers. Garbage and dogs being interrelated cannot be resolved unless a vibrant and dedicated civic authority with an iron will and hand is not in place. As for the traffic mess, it requires not only mechanical, legal and administrative interventions but the social and moral facet of this soaring problem has to be addressed simultaneously. Traffic mess has established itself beyond conventional bottlenecks of narrow roads, disproportionate rise in number of vehicles and dearth of trained manpower. It has plagued our mind and soul; robbing us of our traffic sense and wisdom of understanding. A holistic approach of awareness, caution and preclusion can however contribute in resolving the traffic mess to a great extent. Drivers and commuters along with pedestrians have to be taught and trained to abide by the rule of law. A bold and strong campaign of awareness about traffic rules will open up a healthy relationship between the traffic managers and the public. Such campaigns at occasions may require a firm but honest procedures of admonishing and other severe efforts of deterrence. Authorities have to go many steps further. Merely, erecting traffic lights, identifying bus-bays and designating lanes for specific traffic activities will not serve the purpose, unless people are made to use these facilities devotedly.
At present, whole attention of public has got focused on newly erected traffic lights and both administration and the common man have high hopes with this ‘Alla-Deen Ka Chiraag’. Definitely it is a worthy endeavor and a significant step towards streamlining the rude traffic. However, this genuine venture requires a backup of dedicated implementation schedule both on road and off the road. People need to be made aware of the importance and implications of these lights in resourceful traffic management. The instructions of these well synchronized equipments if not adhered to properly by the public, will prove not only detrimental but even disastrous at occasions. Earlier also Srinagar traffic was subjected to traffic signals , but at that point of time it could not go well with much smaller traffic size of the city and ultimately the system died its own death. This time we should underline the importance of this system in the context of existing unpleasant traffic picture and adopt it wholeheartedly for the betterment of present traffic scenario. As mentioned earlier for last many years administration tried every plan to curb the traffic mess, but its half hearted approach and selective implementation of rules made it to eat the humble pie at several occasions. This time round, traffic managers seem to be serious in their effort to rationalize the traffic system that too with a more efficient system of regulation. But this whole set of efforts will bear fruits only if traffic authorities will deliver with dedication and efficiency; will simply implement law of the land without any fear or favor.