Imagination deficit

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Traffic congestion is one of the most serious problems of Imphal city and it lingers like a festering wound with any remedy given the lack of imagination on the part of those in charge of Traffic issues. There are two main problems that modern day cities face, namely urban decay when parts of the city become run down and undesirable to live in, and traffic congestion. Traffic congestion is caused by many people working in the city which have narrow streets; shortage of off-street parking which means people park on the roads and so increase congestion; people not using public transport – either because it is less convenient, too expensive or not available; more people own and use cars. As an example of how bad traffic jams now are, it took about longer hours to travel now from one place to another. Severe air pollution from exhaust fumes is health problem associated with stationary traffic or traffic jams. Traffic congestion also causes slower speeds, longer trip times, and increased vehicular queueing. As we have said in the past, the regulation of pedestrian only zone in the main city area is one of the solutions to traffic problems, although it is severely opposed by shopkeepers and the people staying in the Bazar area and that the experimentation phase should be ended by making it a permanent regulation which should be inclusive of all vehicles be it of security personnel or VVIPs and VIPs. The city managers have pressed into service low floor city buses during the restricted hours. We must appreciate the idea, as it is imaginative although it may take some time to get used to it. There will always be complaints when one implements a new measure but with the passage the public will get used to it. One of the best solutions to traffic congestion is for people to be able and willing to travel on public transport more. The shopkeepers and businessmen in the Bazar area complain that, sale proceeds have come down. It will come up as soon as the general public becomes accustomed to travel by public transport in the Bazar area. And beyond the restricted hours also, vehicles emitting high decibel noise like the diesel autos should be prohibited from entry in the Bazar area. The Manipur Pollution Control Board is complaining about vehicles emitting high decibel noise exceeding the permitted limit. Instead of complaining, it should enforce the regulations relating to air pollution be it from exhaust fumes or noise. There has to be holistic approach to everything. Road congestion is the curse of modern logistics. There has to be multi-pronged approach towards solving it. The banks had to be taken into confidence with regard to be the increase in the number of vehicles be it private or public. The EMI solution for purchase of vehicles needs to be revisited. There has been a phenomenal increase in private vehicles and diesel autos in recent times, of which the banks are primarily responsible. With regard to small public transport vehicles, the state is involved through its self-employment schemes awarded through the banks. While there is public hue and cry over the dismal credit flow in the state by central banks, it should still take into consideration the factors of air pollution and environmental impact or the traffic problems. The time has come for the Transport department to revisit its registration procedure and make it more stringent to discourage overpopulation of vehicles. And the state Pollution Control Board needs to be more pro-active to make the air cleaner. The dangers of permanent haze over major metropolitan cities in South-East Asia due to increase in number of vehicles should be impressed upon the people and the state agencies alike. And unscheduled road diggings by state agencies without notice even to other line departments are becoming one of the major irritants in managing the traffic. In fact, we have been wondering whether it has become an agenda of the state to cause public inconvenience in any way it can.

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