Thursday, June 13, 2024

State’s elite caught in inveterate traffic jam


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Administration trots out standard excuses

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: Yet another horrendous traffic jam hit the city on Wednesday. It extended into the Guwahati-Shillong highway.

The traffic jam was due to the increase in the number of vehicles entering the city from various parts of State on account of the festive season.

Another factor which was contributed on account of this traffic jam is the increase number of trucks plying on the highway.

Traffic jams are a great leveller. On Thursday Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma and Urban Affairs Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh including many senior government officials became unwitting victims.

Dr Mukul arrived late for the inauguration of the newly-installed power house of the Sunapani Mini Hydel Project because of the traffic snarl. The Urban Affairs Minister arrived at the closing ceremony of the Silver Jubilee Celebration of the Lumkshaid Dorbar Shnong when it was almost over.

While speaking to reporters, Ampareen explained that she was caught in traffic jam for almost an hour which was the reason she was late for the programme.

While speaking to The Shillong Times, East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police AR Mawthoh said that it has become humanly impossible for the traffic personnel to regulate this quantum of traffic.

“At present, one traffic personnel is catering to around 463 vehicles. The police traffic branch is having a man-power of only 240 personnel at its disposal for traffic management,” Mawthoh said.

According to the SP, the major factor which is contributing to the traffic congestion is the frequent breakdown of heavy vehicles plying on the National Highway. The other factor is reckless overtaking which causes further congestion.

Mawthoh also said the increase of the number of coal and cement laden trucks which originates from Jaintia Hills has added to the traffic congestion.

After the Supreme Court reduced the carrying capacity of the trucks, many ramshackle vehicles which were not road-worthy were requisitioned for transportation of coal from Jaintia Hills, Mawthoh explained saying that this has increased the truck population.

The SP further said that a large number of new vehicles hitting the road every day has added to the traffic congestion in the city.

According to Mawthoh, the presence of food stalls with no proper parking space along the highways also causes traffic congestion.

Meanwhile, East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Jopthiaw Lyngdoh said that they have not changed the timings of the trucks which is what most people believe has been done after the schools have closed.

“Actually, the reason why trucks are plying in the city is because there is no place for them to halt,” Lyngdoh said.

At present, there are only two lay byes right from Jorabat to Jowai. The first lay bye at Mawiong can hold a maximum of 60 trucks at a time while the other lay bye at Lad Smit has the capacity to hold a maximum of 75 trucks.

With thousands of trucks hitting the city roads everyday, it is impossible to hold all the trucks in these two existing lay byes, he said.

Left with no option, the Deputy Commissioner said the State traffic police are forced to allow few trucks to ply along the city at regular intervals throughout the day.

“But the release of these trucks had led to traffic congestion in the city. The traffic police department is caught in catch 22 situation while addressing the traffic congestion in the city” he added.


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