Ahead of Durbar Move, gridlocks worsen
While the traffic jams in the City have worsened past September floods, the Traffic Police and the civil administration has miserably failed to take measures to streamline the flow vehicles in the devastated City.
The mornings and evenings are proving worst for commuters when vehicles remained stranded for hours together. With this being the allegedly sorry-state-of-affairs when Durbar Move offices are yet to shift, the plight of traffic movement when the Civil Secretariat shifts to Jammu can only be imagined.
The ongoing work on the Jehangir Chowk –Ram Bagh flyover is being seen as major cause of traffic jams as the administration has failed to offer proper diversions. As per commuters, the Traffic police, on the other hand, is just not visible on the congested diversions where drivers are left to fend for themselves.
While the Solina route is chocked to facilitate flyover work, the diversions like the ones via Raj Bagh and Jawahar Nagar have been left neglected. Observers said the recent floods have left these roads devastated while the Roads and Building (R&B) department never went for the blacktopping of the totally dilapidated patches.
“When the ERA could recently blacktop the Airport Road what is preventing the R&B from undertaking the requisite repairs of the other busy roads in the City,” said a source in the department adding that some engineers were “sabotaging the plans”.
TRAFFIC POLICE FAILURE
The Traffic police is failing to regulate vehicular flow even at places it has its deployment. The regulation on stretch between Police Control Room(PCR) Batamaloo and Tatoo Ground is so poor that for a driver it takes around 45 minutes to one hour to cover the half a mile distance. Commuters alleged that Traffic Police is hand in glove with the public transporters operating from the area and so allows them to drive at their “will and wish”.
This route, as per Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, was supposed to be “dedicated corridor” for movement of vehicles towards the highway and the Airport Road during construction of the upcoming flyover.
But as if failure to regulate traffic on this route was not enough the administration has allowed chocking of the Hyder Pora highway by letting workshops to park hundreds of flood-hit vehicles on the main road thereby creating bottlenecks.
Even though the district administration said the matter would be resolved on priority, respite is awaited.
Encroachments particularly pavement vending and roadside display of goods by shopkeepers is another issue. The administration in January this year had assured that such activities would not be allowed, particularly along the “Batamaloo Corridor”. But in reality this menace is mushrooming under the nose of the Police Stations like Batamaloo and Karan Nagar. “What is preventing the concerned SHOs from discharging their duties?” asked a delegation of concerned citizens.
Eyebrows are equally being raised over the working of Srinagar Municipal Corporation(SMC). Even though SMC head office, where from its Commissioner Dr GN Qasba operates, is at a stone’s throw from the congested spot, the civic body has failed to act.
The role of Traffic Police, as per commuters, looks even worse. The routes like Batamaloo and Karan Nagar which witness the worst of the jams are a few yards away from the office of the Inspector General of Police Traffic Muneer Ahmed Khan.
Despite repeated attempts the District Development Commissioner Farooq Ahmed Shah could not be contacted for comments. An official spokesman of the civil administration said a review meeting would soon be called. To a question that Traffic Police is already staff-starved and City needs manifold more deployment, he said the matter would be discussed at the meeting. “We may ask the Armed Police to provide assistance,” he said.
This is the plight of traffic regulation in the City where last year ahead of leaving for Jammu with Durbar Move, Chief Secretary Muhammad Iqbal Khanday while chairing high level meeting had asked the concerned to streamline traffic flow.
A year on as the Move offices are about to leave for Jammu again, traffic jams have worsened.