JAMMU: Even in worst of differences with rulers that be, good decisions should always be acknowledged and welcomed. After continued monotony of mis-governance by successive governments in Jammu and Kashmir, a pleasant breather came lately in terms of traffic regulations in Jammu by a well meaning officer, who is in the centre of controversies-positive mostly and negative in selective segments. The PDP-BJP government deserves credit for it, not only for posting the officer but also sustaining the pressure of ‘affected lot’ and allowing him to continue. Otherwise, given the experience, the predictors of doom had set a count-down for his ouster. The officer is continuing and as per ground reports, the Jammu roads are witnessing semblance of discipline. Traffic is moving with ease. The arrogance of road-rage has gone; the men in blues are instilling, though hesitantly, confidence rather than attracting contempt; the so-called ‘hafta-systems’ is ostensibly over with blue donned personnel can be seen regulating traffic than laying ‘nakas’, mostly at secluded places for obvious reasons. Believe motorists, the fuel efficiently has hugely increased and time frequency reduced to almost half in reaching destinations. As per ‘common-man’s’ calculation, Jammu city alone is saving 10, 000 to 15,000 litres of petrol and diesel a day due to absence of traffic jams and off-road of passenger carriers, earlier plying without documents and valid permits.
The past nearly eight weeks have seen common man in Jammu feeling honoured and empowered on roads. Yes, the scenario may be quite uncomfortable for spoiled brats, VIPs, commission agents and elements inflicted with virus of corruption.
The society at large has seen how even one person can make a difference. On traffic front it is huge one. It did not call for extra-ordinary skills, sagacity, strategy, planning or rocket science to ensure a discernible turn-around. The ‘man in blacks’ is doing a job, he is supposed to do. This is the job his predecessors were required to do and successors are supposed to perform.
The ‘man in action’ has ‘corrupted’ the people by his good performance and they are the ones, who are now turning to be his huge strength and a speed breaker for ‘schemers’, who have started dirty machinations to oust him, be it by provoking vendors and youngsters.
Jammu has finally scripted a success story. Kashmir is waiting for its repeat. The Traffic Police chief has vindicated his organisation’s theme song ‘Jammu Kashmir Police Key Hum Janbaz Sipahi Niraley’, as far as traffic management is concerned.
That being the war against ‘traffic madness’, there is need to combat encroachments and the municipality mess. The two are co-related. Traffic regulations are essentially dependent on the quality and status of roads. If the chief traffic cop could achieve ‘unimaginable’ despite municipal mess, question arises ‘what?’ in the event of matching drive against encroachments.
Jammu is the most frequented city in northern India being gateway to revered shrines of Mata Vaishno Devi and Shri Amarnathji besides scenic valley and moonland of Ladakh. It ought to have been a model city. On the contrary, it looks a big slum, thanks to civic break-down, not only in terms of failure in maintaining health and hygiene and clean environs but also in allowing large scale encroachments. Thirty per cent roads in the city stand encroached by vendors, Rehriwallas, shopkeepers, idle parkers and waiting passenger transport. Jewel- Bohri Talab Tillo and Jewel-Janipur stretches are nightmarish. A cursory visit to these stretches will reveal the magnitude of encroachments by the shopkeepers, which does not only hamper the movement of traffic but puts the safety of pedestrians and shoppers in jeopardy. Virtually, the shopkeepers are using pavements for putting up stalls and signages. The remaining pavements remain either usurped by the automobile mechanics, steel fabricators, vendors or two-wheeler and car-parkers. Alarmingly, in the name of facelift to business establishments and creating additional spaces on rooftops or sun-shades, the violations are enormous. It is a classic case of administration in general and civic body in particular behaving like ostrich, at the huge cost of public safety, mobility and inconvenience. Not viewing the acts of omission and commission by unscrupulous elements of the Jammu Municipal Corporation in totality but confining these to main and interior Jammu roads the scenario is reprehensible.
Since the municipal mess is hampering traffic regulation in Jammu, the present dispensation or the ‘authority’ behind posting of the ‘man in blacks’ to impose road discipline, must take one more step in right direction to have a ‘man with mission’ at the helm of JMC. Like police, he can vindicate the new found JMC slogan, “Avoid encroachments on public property and ensure footpaths are clean”.
Just food for thought: “What about additional charge of JMC to the man in blacks?” The two assignments could prove complement and supplement to each other.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper