Traffic department fails to resolve Guwahati’s traffic issues
GUWAHATI: Amanjeet Kaur, an IPS officer from the 2009 batch, joined the city police commissionerate in September 2016 as the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Traffic. Since then, she has experimented with many ideas to improve the city’s traffic scenario. But the big question is: has she been able to resolve the issues?
According to many Guwahatians the DCP has failed to resolve the traffic congestion issue; rather in turn, she has created a chaotic situation in certain areas with certain unplanned decisions.
Councillor of ward number 9, Rajkumar Tewari, talking to G Plus said, “DCP Amanjeet Kaur has not done anything for the city and she has majorly failed to resolve the traffic issue.” Tewari further added that Kaur keeps busy with reducing traffic jams only on the roads where there is VIP movement. He said that she is hardly seen in chaotic areas like Fancy Bazar and AT Road which are the commercial hubs of the city. “Pranab Jyoti Goswami was better in managing city traffic,” said Tewari.
As soon as the DCP joined the traffic department, she introduced one-way on AT Road but rolled back the decision within a few days on seeing the clear failure of the move. After the roll back the DCP had said, “It was observed that there were certain pressure points which we need to look after. We rolled it back because there is a need to do a little more work on certain pressure points. Like we have railway crossings on AT Road where every five minutes a train comes, which hampered our one-way plan.”
The city police also observed that the Bharalumukh point was not able to sustain the pressure. Hence, the experiment failed. These initial experiments were proven to be unplanned and taken without adequate thought.
Of late, the traffic police have rearranged some commuting routes in the city and commuters are finding it a problem adapting to these changes. While the Paltan Bazar area has always been reeling under massive traffic jams during the peak hours, the condition has become further chaotic with the rearrangement of the route, feel Guwahatians.
Recently, the route from Paltan Bazar traffic point via Paltan Bazar Police Station to Godhuli Bazar crossing was changed from one-way road to a two-way road, while the route from Nepali Mandir via SAI Stadium to Godhuli Bazar point remains one-way on which only small vehicles are allowed to commute. However, residents of the area have been complaining of increased traffic congestion caused by this arrangement.
“I think this is the worst decision ever taken by the administration. I am a resident of Paltan Bazar and trust me life has become pathetic ever since the new commuting routes have been put into place. Earlier, it used to take 15 minutes from Ulubari flyover to Hotel Amabarish via Nepali Mandir. Now it takes over 30 minutes. The situation is the same while travelling back as well,” Tushar Jalan, a resident of Paltan Bazar said.
Similarly, many Guwahatians have complained that since the day of Dhanteras before Diwali till Chhath Puja, the traffic congestion problem was at its peak in the city.
DCP traffic Amanjeet Kaur, on her part, said, “It is for the good of the public that such decisions are taken and after observing the situation for a few days, if it is required, we might roll back the decision.”
Experiments are in favour of public: DCP Amanjeet Kaur
Even though all concerned Guwahatians are not really happy with the changes, the deputy commissioner of police (DCP), Amanjeet Kaur, has some points to make. According to her, the police only think about the public before taking a particular decision.
DCP Kaur, talking to G Plus said, “Whatever decision is taken is only for the public good and to ease the traffic congestion.”
She said that while the number of vehicles is increasing, there are no new roads. So the traffic police can only regulate traffic rules but cannot create new roads.
She further described that on Dhanteras, there was a certain “auspicious” timing of three hours within which it was considered holy for people to purchase jewellery. Accordingly, virtually the entire Guwahati came out to make their purchases during those three hours which resulted in the massive traffic jam all across the city. She added that similarly, during every occasion, there are some rush hours when people come out in their vehicles and traffic jams occur. It is only because there are lesser roads in the city and these are also rather narrow, said the DCP.
She said that since she joined new experiments are being tried only to find a solution.
Amanjeet Kaur is the first DCP who ordered all the malls not to charge for parking. She also mandated parallel parking in the city.
PWD ignores police zebra crossing demand
The Public Works Department (PWD) is yet to come up with visible zebra crossings at all the road intersecting points in spite of repeated reminders by the traffic police.
DCP Traffic Amanjeet Kaur said, “We have asked the PWD to make visible zebra crossings at all intersections of roads in the city many times. I hope they complete it soon.”
Kaur said that she was aware that there were just a few visible zebra crossings and traffic signage at the intersections.
“This is the reason the traffic police are compelled to use additional manpower to help pedestrians cross the roads,” she explained, adding that jaywalking was another reason for disruption of the traffic movement due to the broken dividers on many roads.
The DCP made a case for the repair of all the broken dividers and for creation of dividers on roads by the PWD.
Another source from the traffic police revealed that according to a survey 90 per cent of the area does not have zebra crossings in Guwahati. The source said that only some important roads like GS Road have visible zebra crossing markings at intersecting points like ABC, Super Market, Dispur etc, which again gets washed away very soon and the PWD does not bother to refurbish them.
Zebra crossings are marked only during VIP visits
The Public Works Department (PWD) becomes active in the city only during the visit of VIPs.
An official claimed that the government sanctions funds for marking the zebra crossings on the roads and for repairing the traffic signage ahead of the arrival of VIPs in Guwahati.
He underscored the perennial crisis of funds in the department that has hampered work on the zebra crossings and traffic signage. “There are proposals submitted to the government and the World Bank for financial support to upgrade all the city roads with proper markings and traffic signage but sanctions for only few roads are received from the state government.”
The official however clarified that work on the zebra crossings and traffic signage is on at GS Road, AT Road and MG Road. He said a plan had already been submitted for the upgradation of roads in the city and the department is waiting for the sanction of funds by the government.