Against the requirement of 1,250 policemen by the Srinagar Traffic Department to manage the traffic, there are only 270 policemen presently deployed in various parts

               traffTraffic mismanagement continues to hassle people in Srinagar as in the absence of traffic police, locals volunteer in the evenings to get off the grid- locks. People in Srinagar are up in arms against the authorities for failing to get rid of traffic jams in most parts of the summer capital. The locals said in most of the places and important intersections, traffic police were not present to manage the gridlock, which stretches the congestion for hours to- gether. Against the requirement of 1,250 policemen by the Srinagar Traffic Department to manage the traffic, there are only 270 policemen presently de- ployed in various parts. The shortage of manpower in the Traffic Department has added to the traffic woes of the people. “We have a shortage of manpower but we are trying our best to stream line the traffic. Whenever we get complaints, we act immediately,” said a senior official of the Traffic Department. The actual requirement is 1,250 policemen, but currently there are only 270 police personnel managing the traffic in Srinagar.

Though parking of vehicles is prohibited on roadsides, especially at busy Residency Road, in the absence of regulation, commuters continue to follow rules and park their vehicles on the roadside adding to the problem.

           The government had requested for extra manpower. In fact it had two teams from the police that helped in managing traffic, but they too have left. Some officials have been sent to Jammu with the Durbar Move, so it is difficult to manage the traffic, but, say the traffic authorities, “we are still trying our best. People should also cooperate and should fol- low traffic rules,. The places where most of the traffic jam is witnessed include Jehangir Chowk, Budshah Chowk, Residency Road, Regal Chowk, TRC, Polo View and Ram Bagh Bridge, Jawahar Nagar, Mehjoor Bridge, Batamaloo and Qamarwari. Though parking of vehicles is prohibited on roadsides, especially at busy Residency Road, in the absence of regulation, commuters continue to follow rules and park their vehicles on the roadside adding to the problem. Wrong priorities of Traffic Depart- ment, occupying of roads by street vendors and ever increasing number of vehicles has created chaotic traffic situation in Srinagar city. According to official figures avail- able 50,000 new vehicles are added to the road traffic every year in Kashmir.

           “The narrow roads and increased traffic is the main cause of traffic bottle- necks at several places in Srinagar city. One fourth of total space is allocated to roads, which is mandatory for a modern city but Srinagar city is a far cry from this figure”, a Traffic Department official said. There is also a huge deficit of traffic signal men who control traffic on busiest spots of city’s roads. This deficiency can be gauged by the fact that one signal man deployed at a beat at Polo view has to spend about 12 hours on the beat to render his duty of con- trolling traffic. “There is no shift system for people like me and I have to be on the beat from 6 am to 8 pm non-stop”, said a signal man wishing not to be named. According to sources there are less than 300 signalmen in entire Jammu and Kashmir, whereas the required number is in thousands.

         The government said that about half a kilometre stretch of Residency road that traverses Srinagar city’s commercial hub, Lal Chowk, remains occupied with cars parked by shopkeepers and customers badly effecting smooth flow of traffic. “Unable to cope with ever increasing traffic mess the Traffic Department has permitted the parking on roads. A yellow line was drawn on the Residency Road to demarcate car parking for customers. But the people and Shopkeepers are violating rules and park their own cars on the road which creates problems for smooth traffic.”, said a senior official of the Transport Department.