The State cabinet decision approving a special traffic police wing for traffic management in the city due considering the ever increasing traffic volume is a welcomed step. Traffic along the Imphal roads has never been smooth since long. Jams and congested narrow roads blocked by vehicles parked on both sides have become common sights on all Imphal roads. Traffic especially during office hours has become one long senseless and tedious process. And in such a scenario, such a decision to introduce a dedicated police wing to manage traffic could only be a welcomed step.
However, there are several other issues that need immediate attention of both the authorities and the general public in order to ease traffic along the Imphal roads. Both the general public as well as the government need to realise that the absence of both good roads and traffic sense amongst the drivers have only compounded the problem. That our roads are not wide enough to accommodate the annual increase in number of vehicles is a known fact, but should the drivers make the matters worse by ignoring all traffic rules and add to the mayhem.
Lack of traffic discipline amongst our city riders and to some extent our pedestrians are the main issues at present.
Taking over from the wrong side, not indicating while using the roundabouts or exiting from the road, which is haphazard to say the least, speak a lot about the driver’s insensibility to traffic rules and safety for themselves and others on the road. The problem only worsens in the presence of underage drivers who are aggressive and rash drivers whizzing around like maniacs, flouting all traffic rules, showing no concern for other vehicles around them. Unnecessary blowing of horns, going past zebra crossings to stop at red lights are some other characteristics of most Imphal riders. Another main issue is the use of pavements and footpaths mostly in the bazar areas by the shopkeepers as extended portion of their shops and to exhibit their wares. Such practice has only forced the pedestrians to walk on the road which further slows down traffic. Certain shops and other establishments are also using the roadsides in front of their shops as their parking spaces which only make the matters worse.
What has aggravated further is the mismanagement of traffic by the authorities.
The end point is if the government consider it not feasible to widen the roads at the moment keeping in with the ever increasing number of vehicles, then it need to come up with more stringent rules and regulations to check such traffic rule violations and ensure safety of the commuters and a free flowing traffic.
The new traffic police wing which will be responsible traffic management including enforcing traffic rules on the Imphal roads could also begin with taking up driver education programmes starting from new drivers who are newly introduced to handle vehicles. These programmes could be designed to prepare the new drivers on vehicle safety and operation, their own safety, road rules and other factors that affect driving like driving under the influence among others.
Leader Writer: Bhupendra Wangkheimayum