PEOPLE in the capital city have started facing an abnormal traffic congestion for quite a few days. Cars and buses come to stop at crossings and on road stretches passing by markets for even an hour, or more than that, with a complete silence after some initial honking of horns. With Eid drawing near and the associated rush for Eid-time shopping getting into the thick of it, such traffic congestion is no surprise but not acceptable. The capital city has, in fact, hardly been free of congestion on the road in recent years. At usual time of the year, people generally know that they could be facing traffic congestion on certain days almost every week, month after month, and on certain other days when there are heavy rains that cause water stagnation in most of the city areas. But in the recent few days, the situation has turned both inextricable and, at the same time, inescapable, forcing people to lose hundreds of collective work hours on the road. Such a situation certainly has a negative bearing on the national economy and the road transport and bridges minister on May 29, therefore, said that they had started making preparations, well before Ramadan, to ease traffic congestion at Eid time in the capital.
The preparations seem to have fallen flat. Once people are on the road, it is nobody’s guess when they would reach their destinations. The severest of the traffic congestions that people are now facing has largely been due to illegal parking and a mad rush of people for Eid shopping, coupled with water stagnation caused by intermittent rain and many road stretches having craters, to hold that water, because of the seemingly never-ending construction work of flyovers and mindless road-digging by some utility authorities. When the roads fail to allow vehicles to roll forward, because of the congestion, people, not all but many of them, especially those who think that they are powerful and those who are frustrated enough to break the law, conveniently sneak into the wrong lanes, further compounding the situation. And all this happens before the police personnel assigned to maintain discipline on the road, putting up a glaring show of law traffic enforcement failure. Wrong-lane driving has always been there, but its severity has only intensified this time. All the authorities concerned knew it fully well that there could be a chaos, especially in the wake of flyover construction work and road-digging and in the event of rains.
The authorities could step up law enforcement but they did not. They decided to run mobile courts but that too at the last moment and such a mobile court could hardly ease the situation. Yet why should the authorities need to run mobile courts to ensure congestion-free traffic movement, which is a round-the-year duty of the traffic personnel? In what has come about, the government must immediately step up law enforcement and attend to other issues to rid the roads of congestion and work out a plan to ensure an easy traffic movement in future.
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