Thu. Nov 21st, 2019

Chaos of urban & traffic regulation in Srinagar

In Srinagar the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir state the successive popular governments have failed to fix accountability and punish the guilty for any civic mess. Since last more than two decades the acute shortages of power and water, poor telecommunication facilities, blocked drains and diversion of traffic and maintenance of roads are much bigger challenges for the helmsmen overseeing the working of essential services in Srinagar city. As many busy stretches see construction round-the-yea it is impossible for the traffic regulation authorities to clear up alternative routes for diversions. Shocking it is that traffic police’s role is restricted to clearing snarls and collecting fines for violations and the frequent traffic jams in commercial hub of the Srinagar go unnoticed . Consequently the public transport management system suffers from worst forms of chaos and since last several years Srinagar city’s road connectivity woes have not been resolved. No better passenger buses are available in the city to help people to move from their localities to desired destinations. Unfortunate it is the work of the transport department has been restricted to regulatory functions such as registration of vehicles, issuing driving licenses and permits for buses and trucks, fixing fares for autos and taxis. There are different rates to park vehicles in different jurisdictions of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) and Srinagar Development Authority (SDA), but the issue despite causing huge inconveniences to people is yet to catch the attention of the helmsmen and urban development planners in SMC and SDA.
To curb the congestion and improve the traffic regulation system in Srinagar city the idea of a Unified Srinagar Urban Management and Traffic Regulation Authority (SUMTRA) could hopefully bring some improvement on ground. Initially there may be problems in getting Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), Srinagar Development Authority (SDA), Urban Environmental Engineering Department (UEED), Public Health Engineering Department, Power Development Department, Traffic Police Department and Transport Department to report to the same boss, but institutional arrangement for a single line administration could bring the multiple government agencies together for improving the basic facilities in the city. To oversee the working of Unified Srinagar Urban Management and Traffic Regulation Authority (SUMTRA) Government could constitute a working group for coordination among the concerned department on key issues. Not just serving officers of the government but some full-time experts could be also included in the working group to oversee the supervision of the coordination among the concerned departments. Right now, the government could hire the services of some reputed experts of urban development planning and city traffic management from outside the state so that reports and draft plans are prepared for changing the urban development and city traffic management systems in Srinagar as this has become imperative for the reasons that the bulk of the planning and work is still done by the government’s civil engineers who are not trained to appreciate the challenges of urban development and city traffic management system in an overcrowded city like Srinagar. Before thinking about utilizing the services of some experts of urban development planning and city traffic management from outside the state the government has an institutional and administrative compulsion to conduct a city-wide survey to understand Srinagar ‘s changing urban development and traffic management patterns.


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