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Friday, June 14, 2024

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Friday, June 14, 2024

At a standstill

Sir,

Traffic congestion has become a major concern for the citizens of Shillong these days, who often vent their frustration on the government and the poor traffic management in the city. The problem has been aggravated with the reopening of schools and colleges recently, and the government relaxing the odd-even norms for commercial vehicles.

Commuters often complain about the pathetic traffic snarls on common routes such as Laitumkharh, Police Bazar, Dhankheti – where scores of vehicles are lined up during peak hours.

While the traffic congestion can be attributed to various factors such as more and more people buying cars, or for that matter the lack of alternative routes, flyovers, and dormant road infrastructure, the government has not come out with a concrete plan to address the issue.

The resources available with the government to tackle the crisis are also limited given the fact that most areas under Shillong agglomeration have seen rapid urbanisation in the past decade or so, leaving less space for the extension of road infrastructure within the city.

The roads across the city have remained the same, while the number of vehicles plying on these has increased manifold. There are multiple processes and laws that have to be followed before a permission can be granted to extend roads in Sixth Schedule areas like Shillong, which again brings everything to standstill before things can materialise.

In addition to land being a problem, the government is also financially crippled to take up big projects, such as additional flyovers that can greatly address the issue. However, such projects need funding, for which the state government directly relies on the Centre. Now even if a project is approved by the Centre, permission from a large number of civil society organisations have to be sought for implementing the project or for that matter.

Whereas, all this arguably points that the government has failed to manage things , the urban well-to-do can also be blamed for the mess, who rely on private vehicles for everything, and  refrain from taking public transportation for their daily commute.

Robert Nongseij, Shillong

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