Sunday, July 21, 2024

Shillong roads in a tight spot; state yet to have vehicle scrapping policy


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12.9% of people in Meghalaya own cars compared to 8.1% in Assam, NFHS 2019-2021 data indicates

SHILLONG, June 19: The long-standing issue of traffic congestion in Shillong has been exacerbated by recent heavy rains, causing significant disruption for the general public and the Shillong Traffic Police (STP).
The problem is compounded by the growing number of vehicles on the city’s narrow roads. Despite the police’s best efforts, the increasing number of four-wheelers continues to create bottlenecks.
The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) (2019-2021) data indicates that 12.9 per cent of people in Meghalaya own cars, compared to 8.1 per cent in Assam, a state with broader roads.
And this number has been ever-growing, as there is no limitation to the number of cars that can be owned by a family.
Many school students were forced to return home Wednesday morning as they could not reach their schools on time due to the gridlock.
A distressed man, stuck in the traffic on Wednesday, said, “I am taking my kid back home because she could not make it on time to school. We had to return halfway, and see we are not home yet.”
The congestion has had a tangible impact on daily life.
Public buses, although limited in number, often run empty as passengers prefer quicker cab services. One bus passenger remarked, “I was forced to take the bus today because it was raining since morning and I could not manage a cab.”
The aggrieved passenger further added, “I have grown up in this city, the roads always have been this, it’s the number of vehicles that have increased. You can widen the roads, but then people will start parking there. There has to be some sense of discipline instilled in people first.”
Another passenger added that the government should introduce the vehicle scrapping policy, necessitating all cars that are 15 years old need be disposed off, and this should be enforced in a stricter manner.
Meghalaya government’s vehicle scrapping policy of 2021 says that commercial vehicles aged more than 15 years and passenger vehicles aged more than 20 years will have to be scrapped if they do not pass the fitness and emission tests. The objective is to phase out old cars, reduce urban pollution, and stimulate automotive sales.


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