Weatherman had predicted rains, not a situation wherein half of Jammu remains paralaysed for nearly six hours amid incessant rains. The B C Road and entire stretch beyond Government Medical College Hospital up to the Akhnoor Road witnessed longest and massive traffic jam after shifting of Durbar Move offices to the winter capital. Earlier in the day, the roads remained mismanaged across Tawi Bridge to the Airport.
The hours long jam depicted the vulnerability of Jammu roads to ever increasing vehicular population and mismanagement of the traffic managers. Hardly any cop was seen around in the initial stage of traffic jam and it was left to the people to pave their way through the thick jam and in turn the already complex problem got further confounded.
The traffic jams generally leave the tail-enders wonder as to what might have actually happened ahead of them. The jams due to VIP movements are not new in Jammu, especially during the marriage season and in the winter months with ‘power lords’ on move from here to there. The traveling people are left with no option but to keep pacing in the snarling movement of vehicles, at times for hours together. They deserve it because they have committed the crime of exercising their franchise and voting their representatives to hot seats of power. After getting elected they become so delicate and ‘touch me not’ stuff that paving way by browbeating the people is rightful duty of the traffic managers. Their whistle shrieks send chill to civilian drivers and pedestrians too.
Interestingly today’s traffic jams saw no VIP movement getting hampered on various vulnerable stretches.
Moving in a car is a Herculean task for every driver during the peak hours on the congested roads right side of the River Tawi. When it is not VIP movement, it is the domain of public transport carriers, who ‘enjoy’ exclusive right over roads. The posturing and arrogance of some of these drivers towards the private car operators who ‘dare’ and seek passage to overtake is a common scene, as they remain either dropping or picking up the passengers in the middle of roads, jeopradising their safety and causing traffic halts after every fifty yards.
Today’s traffic jam was not an isolated event. It is a usual phenomenon in this part of the country. Reasons are many provided someone at the helm seriously wants to know. The Jammu traffic jams can essentially be attributed to passenger transport that knows no norm as to where to stop; where to pick and where to drop the passengers. The commuters can see these passenger vehicles leaving a trail of vehicles behind them on almost all the routes of the crowded city. The second most alarming malady is teenagers (read underage lads) enjoying themselves with their favourite bike aerobatics on the busy roads at the strength of valid licenses or without licenses. Not well trained car operators are also seen everywhere in the city, again holding valid licenses. There has to be some mechanism to make driving a real tough proposition to avert avoidable accidents and mayhem on roads. The Regional Transport Organisation will have to ponder over the menace of increasing vehicles, without private parking in homes or in the busy markets. The idle parking on roadsides and outside the banquet halls is a major irritant for traffic jams. The encroachments by business establishments and vendors are other irritants to ailing traffic in the capital city.
The high police officials, including the Director General of Police, too should at times venture out in civvies, without escorts and hullaballoo, to find out as to what ails to the city’s traffic system. This can give them an overview of the problem and help in working out a fool-proof mechanism, within given manpower and resources, to treat the malady. K P S Menon, an illustrious Indian Civil Service officer of the yesteryears had penned down an interesting article on effective policing in a famous weekly of the country, stating therein that ‘one who knows to command a horse can command a mob’. The underlying point is that the police have to rise to the occasion and assert its authority to establish order.
Jammu roads are presenting a maddening scenario. Traffic jams, accidents and other irritants call for devising a fool-proof mechanism to treat the malady. Burden essentially lies on the traffic managers.
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