New no-parking norms creating more trouble than relief for citizens
GUWAHATI: The recent move of the Guwahati Traffic Police to arbitrarily mark stretches of the city’s various roads as no-parking zones is causing more trouble than relief for the city’s commuters.
To curb traffic congestion in the city - a problem that has only aggravated over the past few years with the increase in the number of vehicles on the streets - the city traffic police department under the Guwahati police commissionerate, has restricted substantial stretches of various roads creating No Parking zones. To enforce the same, the department has lined up tethered traffic cones tied to each other with tapes in the parking prone areas, thus encroaching upon the stretch anyway.
“Putting up cones and blocking a certain stretch of the road doesn’t serve the purpose as it takes up as much space of the road that could have been used for parking. So, these bounded areas are not only narrowing down the roads but also creating problems for people who could have parked their vehicles there,” Pradeep Saikia, who commutes through RG Baruah road daily, said. According to Saikia, he used to remain stuck in traffic jams for more than 15 minutes daily and this has increased after the parking restrictions were put in place.
There are about 3,600 roads in the city, including by-lanes, and more than one lakh vehicles ply on these roads on a daily basis. The police have made long stretches on at least 25 major arteries as no parking zones.
However, the problem is most acute on Maniram Dewan Road near Silpukhuri, RG Baruah Road, Hatigaon Road, Dr B Baruah Road etc where these roads are considerably narrow already.
“The stretch of Dr B Baruah Road from Gauhati Club to Ulubari flyover is used to commute by vehicles from Ulubari, GS Road, Ambari and Chandmari making road prone to traffic congestion almost round-the-clock. The jams invariably last more than an hour during the evenings. During such busy hours certain areas of the road are bound off-limit by cones to thwart parking. Even if this eliminates parking, what use is it if the already narrow road burdened with heavy traffic gets further narrower,” Jayanta Kalita, a commuter who travels through Dr. B Baruah Road daily, said.
Despite several attempts, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Amanjeet Kaur, could not be reached. A senior official in the traffic department, however said, “This is a temporary arrangement. The traffic department is plagued by lack of manpower and other resources. In most of the areas, there are personnel to enforce No Parking, but in certain areas, it is not possible for the department to allot personnel. It is only on that stretch that we have put up safety cones. It is a temporary arrangement as once the integrated traffic management starts, we will be able to monitor and manage the traffic better.”
Parking woes continue, call for more parking zones
The Guwahati Municipal Corporation has opened up the parking zone below the Ganeshguri flyover – an area that was closed for parking for the last 10 year post the triple bomb blast in 2008. While the move was appreciated by the citizens, calls are being raised for more such parking zones to be set up on all the major roads of the city.
“The RG Baruah Road already has two parking zones and yet, it is nowhere near to controlling the parking problems in the area. Other areas aren’t that fortunate. The government should identify some areas along the stretches of the roads and allot those as parking areas. The only place where citizens get decent parking space is along the GS Road as it is very wide. This apart, we have to struggle in almost every part of the city for parking,” said Bikash Kalita, who works in Ganeshguri and has to struggle every day to park his vehicle.
Earlier this year, the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) had inaugurated a multi-storey car parking facility near Shradhanjali Kanan.
According to the GMC commissioner, Monalisa Goswami, the spaces below the other flyovers at Ulubari, Bhangagarh and Six Miles have also been leased out for parking purposes.
“About 96 four-wheelers or 288 two-wheelers can be parked under the Ganeshguri flyover and about 105 four-wheelers or 315 two-wheelers can be parked under the Bhangagarh flyover. Under the Ulubari flyover, 78 cars or 234 two-wheelers can be parked. And about 150 four-wheelers or 450 two-wheelers can be parked under the Six Mile flyover. Once all these are open for parking, it would bring down the parking woes of the city to a great extent,” Goswami said.
She further added that all the big business establishments and the food joints will have to have parking facility for their customers which has been made mandatory.
“We check their parking arrangements every year when their trade licenses are renewed,” Goswami added.
People, however, have complained that there still is a major lag in the availability of parking spaces in certain areas of the city such as Ulubari, Rehabari, Hatigaon, Beltola etc.
“Even if the parking zone under the Ulubari flyover is opened, it won’t meet the requirement of this area. This area has a college and the Nehru Stadium that attracts a major crowd from other parts of the city. Also, there are so many offices here and no parking facilities around. Nehru Stadium has a lot of space but that cannot be used by people,” Aminul Habib, who works in a private organisation at Ulubari, said.