Home Site Map
Writings Home Page

Streamlining Doon’s traffic

Why vested interests want the police to stop trying to improving the chaos on Doon’s roads!

Dr Nitin Pandey


“This is like a storm, it will pass over” explained Vijay Rawat, a tyre puncture repair mechanic as he described the recent activities of the police in controlling the traffic chaos of Dehra Dun. Reactions to the new SSP Kewal Khurana’s drive to control the unruly traffic of Dehra Dun have been coated with skepticism, both by the critics and supporters of the drive; skepticism that this is a short lived “offensive” which will soon die down and things will be back to status quo. Lending credence to this belief is the fate of similar drives in past, including the Uttarakhand High Courts attempts to control the Sunday Bazaar, all of which left matters worse off than before.

That Dehra Dun’s traffic is a mess and urgent measures are needed, everyone agrees. That Doonites burn hundreds of thousands of litres of fuel and hundreds of man-hours every month stuck in a traffic jam is also universally acknowledged. Excessive vehicle wear & tear, frayed tempers, road rage, both air and noise pollution, missed appointments and unnecessary physical exhaustion are also universally acknowledge. Then where is the problem?

Urgent steps which need to be taken
  1. Make permanent dividers along Chakrata Road and Saharanpur Road with openings not less than 500 meters apart. Close the openings opposite Lunia Moholla and Chakkuwala.
  2. Ban entry of hand carts in Chakrata Road during peak hours.
  3. Ban entry of big army buses and trucks during peak hours in the city.
  4. Shift scooter and car repair shops and auto spare parts shop from Subhash Road side of Astley Hall.
  5. Drive to ensure basement parkings of all complexes are working, clean and well lit.
  6. Shift SBI Main Branch as it has no parking at all and cars are invariably parked on the road, blocking it.
  7. Increase Parking Space in GPO. It has parking space for only 5 vehicles.
  8. Close divider openings in Rajpur Roads for atleast one kilometer.

The problem starts with the firm belief of many Doonites that efforts to control traffic must start from somewhere else. I need to cross the road, so no road divider in front of my shop even if thousands of other commuters suffer from the jam which consequentially occurs. My customers need to park on the road right in front of my shop, so please start your traffic control measures somewhere else. To reach my home, I will have to take a 200 meter detour, so there must be openings in the road divider every 100 meters please. I need to get more customers, so displaying wares on footpath is my right. Let me park my vehicle in the wrong place just for a little while is another common refrain. This unwillingness of Doonites to adjust for the sake of a wider benefit to society is a bane to the town. And to make matter worse, local politicians bend backwards to ensure that such demands are fulfilled even as they realize that by doing so they are doing a disservice to the society. Mercifully for VIPs, their whaling siren and the police always ensures a smooth road whenever they travel and if they do get caught in a traffic jam, the police officers on duty in the area are immediately suspended, as events have shown again and again. Therefore for them bowing to self-defeating demands is not a big issue as long as their votes are assured.

This explains the stiff opposition to the road dividers by traders on Saharanpur Road & by residents of Lunia Moholla and to the stopping of road side parking by shopkeepers in Astley Hall and Dilaram Bazaar. Who cares if the general public is greatly inconvenienced? It is me, my and mine all the way. The banning of two wheelers in Paltan Bazaar is similarly bound to elicit opposition from the shopkeepers in the area but is a step long overdue.

Unfortunately in democracy, a silent majority is considered to be a minority. So, even as millions of Doonites heave a sign of relief and are genuinely happy at the efforts of the new SSP yet they keep quiet and the loud protests from a few dozen vested interested persons hog the headlines exerting pressure on the administration. Says Himanshu Arora, a Paltan Bazaar trader “It is the first time in my life I’ve seen such decisive action. No one has ever seen policemen in Macchi Bazaar regulating the traffic jam there. Hats off to the new SSP.” In conversations almost everyone praises the road dividers put up along Chakrata & Saharanpur Road, but these conversations never make headlines. The only people opposed to such measures are the local traders and well, they have their hands on the purses of the local policitians!

Deploying a large police force on traffic duty only highlights the acute deficiency of traffic policemen in Dehra Dun. It is also unlikely that this deployment can be sustained for long, without seriously compromising other functions of the police department and it is more than likely that things will be back to square one soon. Hence there is a need to take other urgent systemic reforms. Working traffic lights, security cameras, increasing significantly the fine for traffic violations, motorcycle borne traffic policemen and resisting political pressure must be ensured. One ways strictly implemented with violators being identified by security cameras and fined heftily. Storing of construction material on roads needs to be strictly dealt with. Long term aims should be to increase parking and removing shops / offices from residential areas.

The result of the efforts undertaken so far has been dramatic. One is awed by the width of encroachment free roads. If carried to their logical conclusion, life will be much more comfortable to the residents of the city. One only hopes that the police department is able to withstand the inevitable political pressure for roll back and that the new SSP does not find his new posting orders waiting on his table, one day too soon.

Get Updates Get SMS Updates
Add to Google Receive SMS Updates

Please comment on the article

Your Name:
Your E mail:

Abusive, inappropriate or offensive comments are likely to be edited or deleted.

Read comments

From: Knwleodge wants to be free, just like these articles!
Knwleodge wants to be free, just like these articles!