Jammu carries tremendous historical importance, and is regarded as a prominent tourist hub. It also has notable significance amongst the beautiful cities of the world. However, the ever-increasing vehicular traffic on the roads of Jammu, in the last couple of decades, has been a big threat to its beauty and historical significance.
The situation is getting alarming, which makes one wonder as to why this traffic chaos prevails despite the existence of overpasses, underpasses and well-constructed roads. Many factors are attributed to the unprecedented traffic mismanagement in Jammu.
The first and the foremost factor is the lack of competent and efficient traffic management police. There exists lesser number of traffic wardens than required at the traffic signals. This creates traffic jams for long, and leads to an unruly traffic flow. At times, the traffic wardens are merely busy in claiming undue fines from the vehicle owners, who do not even violate the traffic rules. This impedes the efficiency of the traffic police in effective regulation of the traffic flow. In addition, the failure of the government to design and implement a full fledge modern traffic management system, in lines with the foreign countries’ setup; despite many plans is another cause of traffic mismanagement.
In light of the present scenario of traffic mismanagement in Jammu, there stands a dire need for the government to take action. It should adopt concrete measures to employ a greater number of efficient and responsible traffic wardens. It should also allocate adequate funds for the traffic flow’s improvement. All these measures, if implemented prudently will ensure a smooth and hassle free traffic flow on the roads of Jammu. The road length of city area is 704.22 km while the density of vehicles is 574 per km. The district has come in traffic danger zone wherein the density of vehicles has assumed alarming populations. A traffic cop controls 1,700 vehicles on Jammu roads. Even a minor mismanagement leads to chaos and traffic jams that last for two to three hours.
Amit Suri, a resident of Rehari Colony said, “Either it is the increasing traffic in the city or traffic mismanagement, even a 15- minute drive takes more than half an hour. There are no rules and regulations. At some places, the traffic lights are not working, though they are repaired immediately but the problem exists.” Buses and mini-buses stop anywhere as there are no designated stops for them. Roads are narrow so there is no space for other vehicles to pass leading to long queues of vehicles. In the past few days these jams have increased especially on the Canal road and Bakshi Nagar Chowk,” he said.
Primarily the duty of J&K Traffic Police is to safeguard the lives of the people by reducing the incidents of accidents, rash and negligent driving; driving under the influence of liquor and above all to manage the regulation of traffic properly to avoid jams and inconvenience to general public whosoever owns personal convenience.
When on duty only aim should be to take needful steps to provide improved traffic facilities to road users. No doubt the efficient management of traffic has emerged as one of the most challenging aspect to the Government as it involves life and safety of the citizens. Shrinking roads, ever-increasing traffic, increasing lack of civic sense coupled with blind urge to merely imitate are some of the factors which add to the challenge. Maintaining the balance of safety and security vis-à-vis promptitude requires high degree of professionalism.
The lopsided growth, especially in city of Jammu/ Srinagar has seen the vehicular population run many times more than the infrastructure which is available. It is with this background the need of the hour is to initiate daunting task of reaching out stated mission. The active coordination and wholehearted cooperation of citizens, stakeholders, sister agencies have also an important role to achieve desired scenario. Anybody who gets trapped in traffic jams and reaches proposed destination so often asks a very simple question as when will they be get rid of this.
Definately State Government and Traffic Department are responsible for traffic jams and chaos and mismanagement of the traffic flow in the winter capital city. High claims made by the concerned ministry and the department that they have been successful to great extent in streamlining the traffic flow in Jammu city for the convenience of the public but on ground the situation is entirely different. Although the traffic signals have been fixed at a number of points but maximum of them are non-functional. Men of traffic police in blue are seen on roads but they only get active whenever there is VIP movement.
The violation of traffic rules is on rise as there is no one to check it. The State Government and the Traffic Police should realize the need of implementing the traffic rules in proper way so that the general public is not made to suffer anymore. The Jewel-Talab Tillo road is always busy and there are long jams which can be checked easily if the traffic policemen deployed on the route are sincere towards their duty. Mere standing on roads in blue and watching the traffic violations as mute spectator is indeed very unfortunate. Moreover delay in starting the work for the announced flyover is also one of the reasons for rushes of traffic on roads. Although the flyovers for the busy roads have been sanctioned but unfortunately the work has not taken up on political considerations.
Frequent Traffic jams in the main Bazaars of Jammu city has become a routine Prominent citizens maintain that the cause of such jam as failure on the part of district administration due to which the residents of the area are confronted to great difficulties and problems. In addition to mounting vehicular pressure, lack of coordination among various government agencies contribute significantly to traffic mismanagement in Jammu and Kashmir, especially in the twin cities of Srinagar and Jammu.
According to the J&K Traffic Department, there are a number of agencies which indirectly contribute to the ills of the traffic management. “These include departments like Telecom, Public Health Engineering, Power Development and Urban Environment and Engineering etc the agencies, while executing their respective jobs “unilaterally” cut roads and embankments adding to the miseries of road users. Sources in the Traffic Department said the agencies “never consult” the Traffic Department before undertaking such works, making it difficult for the traffic cops to regulate traffic along the affected roads.
The Traffic Department believes that the executing agencies take a lot of time to execute works, notwithstanding the public inconvenience in the wake of traffic jams. At several places in the twin cities of Srinagar and Jammu, several roads remain dug up and left open, risking the lives of pedestrians and drivers. “Was there coordination among different agencies, things would have been quite smooth and manageable. But unfortunately every department does things as per its wishes. Nobody is bothered about the public convenience.