Forget respite, traffic mess to further in coming days

Failing to regulate vehicular flow amid JCRB flyover work, authorities to choke more busy roads; After Solina, Naaz Crossing stretch being closed for years

Failing to streamline vehicular traffic in the summer Capital, the authorities have decided to choke more of roads leading to the City center. Sounds funny but this is what is feared to be a reality in the coming days as the government has given a go ahead for closure of portion of  a busiest road: After Solina, the Naaz Cinema Crossing stretch of the Jehangir Chowk-Ram Bagh (JCRB) route is being partially closed for traffic with no visible alternatives for diversion.
 The road is being narrowed down to facilitate work on the ongoing JCRB flyover project, which has already put thousands of commuters to inconvenience through diversions via “choked and unmanned routes.”

 Till now the traffic coming from the City center was being diverted left near Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal Park-Bakshi Stadium junctions. The vehicles were being forced to drive to the Ram Bagh bund via congested Jawahar Nagar where the Srinagar Municipal Corporation(SMC) has already failed to remove roadside encroachments while the Traffic Police continues to run short of the staff.
 But the new impediment leaves no scope of any diversion as the only left cut before Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal Park is already choked. This has left the vehicular traffic with no options but to wait for their turn to drive down the narrow passage. 
 Given the huge traffic influx on this key route to south City, and other districts of Kashmir,   thousands of vehicles could get stranded every hour to have a cascading effect right on the City center.
 The areas feared to be affected by the new blockade include Jehangir Chowk, Lal Chowk, Dalgate and Batamaloo.

 In 2007 the Traffic Police had conducted a study which revealed that around 80 ,000 vehicles drive down JCRB route at peak hours. Interestingly, the study was done in the month of Ramazan by the then SP Traffic Shoket Shah when it was found that maximum number of vehicles drive from City centre to south close to Iftaar.
 Observes said even if conservative figures are taken into consideration, the blockade in the form of iron walling near the park would surely have a cascading effect on Jehangir Chowk and Lal Chowk.
 “The distance between the park blockade and the Jehangir Chowk is barely 500 meters. The slowdown in traffic will directly impact traffic regulation in the entire City center,” explained a retired Traffic Police who frequents this congested route.

 Despite assurances, till now the civil and police administration has failed to regulate traffic on diversions along the JCRB route. The other option, which the officials had been highlighting, was diversion via Batamaloo bus stand. But that too as per commuters proved a failure.
 While the administration looks unable to remove roadside encroachments or go for widening along possible diversions, “vote bank politics ahead of the Assembly elections” is   equally believed to be fuelling the mess.

 But the officials are satisfied as they uphold the conventional statement: “We will regulate traffic properly there will be no problem.”
 The allegedly staff-starved Traffic police on the other hand is understood to have given consent for barricading of the Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal Park road. “Traffic Police department paid no heed on the repercussions of the barricading when there is no alternative only to please those at the helm,” said a senior official in Civil Secretariat asking not to be identified.
 Ironically, some senior officials in the divisional administration who were on the forefront to get flyover work started now avoid coming before media as traffic regulation on diversion routes failed.

 But why is government seemingly unmoved by the inconvenience faced by the people? Why is there no respite even despite personal interventions of Chief Secretary Muhammad Iqbal Khanday and Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Shailendra Kumar? And why are the concerned officials embracing an embarrassing chaos on Srinagar roads? (To be concluded)

Barricading over half the portion of Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal Park road leaves little space for vehicles to move
There are no visible options for any diversions and so a traffic slow down is obvious and feared to trigger chaos
With authorities having failed even in regulation of traffic on diversion routes and so new restrictions will leave traffic uncontrolled

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