Traffic light signal system has been reintroduced in Imphal after years of its first experimentation about a decade and half ago. It is good time to do so too for it had become a pain to see traffic signal policemen and policewomen watching haplessly as vehicles refuse to obey their commands or even to look at them to wait for the okay signal from them. Now the lights are handling these signals and the traffic police personnel can to do the much needed hauling up of traffic violators. There is plenty to smooth out still, in particular vehicle users have to be disciplined into the traffic routines so that these norms become internalised and therefore automatic responses of all vehicle users. For this to happen, at the initial stages, the traffic police personnel would have to be stern on anybody who deviates from norms. Unless and until everybody falls into line, the chaos on the roads would not mitigate. In the absence of a controlling mechanism, this chaos can be only be predicted to rise as the years go by. As was indicated in a news report in this daily two weeks ago, during the last year alone, the number of registered motor vehicles increased by 40,000. This will give an indication of the continual incremental pressure on our roads and traffic management system. Hence, along with an expansion of the volume and width of our roads, there must also be a constant up-gradation to the latest and state-of-the-art traffic management techniques and technologies. Everybody must be made to realise that each and everybody sacrificing a little freedom on their driving habits is essential for everybody to enjoy and aggregated traffic freedom together. Let everybody drive in their lanes, overtake as per norm, turn only where they are permitted to etc, so that frustrating traffic jams are avoided to the extent possible.
It is necessary here to point out one simple addition to the traffic regulatory mechanism which can further improve the smooth flow of traffic, and equally importantly the convenience of pedestrians. We need some overhead walkways along the main streets of Imphal. This is particularly so along the BT Road at the foot of the BT Road flyover. This road has been vertically partitioned, as it should be, so that the southern and northern sides of the roads are separated completely by a concrete wall as well as moveable barricades. But as anybody who has driven along this stretch of the road would have noticed, pedestrians still climb over these barricades, or else climb the flyover base till where the barricades end, and then cross the road. This is another reason for a huge congestion at this point. At least on this count, the pedestrians cannot be blamed. What are they supposed to do if they needed to go the other side of the road? For every trifle they cannot be expected to walk down the road 200 meters and cross, only to walk back the same distance and cross back. It is plain logic that they would try to cross the road without taking this unreasonable trouble. One simple walkway bridge over the road connecting its two banks would solve the problem. If this was done, pedestrians would not be harangued by irritated horns of motor vehicles, dangers of mishaps contained, and not the least driving would lose much of the stress associated with it in today`™s Imphal.
There is one more thing to be noted. The principle that everybody is equal before the law must apply even to traffic rules. As of today, this is hardly the case. At least those in position of power ensure that the law is not interpreted this way. It is therefore painful to watch certain categories of vehicles blatantly flouting traffic regulations, as if is their right to do so. These vehicles in particular are those belonging to VIPs and their escorts as well as those of security forces. Unless in cases of emergency, why must anybody be allowed this? Moreover, exceptions are a dangerous thing always. Today it is the VIP vehicles, sooner than later it would be VIP wives and children, followed by government official vehicles etc, until finally the floodgates have been thrown open again and nobody respects the traffic norms. Instead, we are of the opinion that VIP and security vehicles should set the example that they too follow the same norms, and if this becomes the practice, we are more than certain, everybody would be not only under pressure but actually happy to do only as per the rule of law.