BHUBANESWAR: Traffic management seems to be the last priority of the Commissionerate of Twin City Police. Or else, how can the traffic snarls in the Capital City, which is increasing day by day, be explained.
Poor road engineering; mindless obstruction of roads by vendors of sorts, two-wheelers, auto-rickshaws, private vehicles; rampant violation of traffic rules by all and sundry aided by a complete indifferent behaviour of the traffic personnel and police have thrown the vehicular movement in the city totally out of gear.
You name any stretch of the major thoroughfares in the city, all that you witness is chaos and anarchy while the traffic personnel engaged in duty are either seen huddled at the crossing or a few of them chatting in the mobile phones as hapless citizens struggle to get out of the jam due to unplanned traffic management. The student volunteers engaged to aid the traffic policemen are often clueless in absence of guidance from the person in-charge.
One wonders often whether the police in charge of the traffic control think their presence at the crossings is good enough to justify their duty even as there are violations all around them and yet it is not their responsibility to prevent those.Admittedly, the cityscape has gone for a sea-change and the number of vehicles has gone up by leaps and bounds. And, the number of the traffic personnel engaged to control such a scenario in the city is woefully short.
Invariably the top police officers talk about the shortage in manpower in so far as traffic management is concerned when confronted with the deteriorating conditions.Some of the worst roads where the people in Bhubaneswar encounter such chaos in traffic management are KIIT Square to Jayadev Vihar, Jayadev Vihar to Rasulgarh, the stretch of Janpath from Vani Vihar to Rajmahal Square, AG Square to Kalpana Square and Rasulgarh to Rabi Talkies Square.Brazen encroachments and unruly driving by auto-rickshaws, taxis and two-wheeler riders not only contribute to such traffic jams which result in innumerable accidents but also lead to many deaths.
Yet the entire system accepts such gross mismanagements and violations of rules as a way of life in order to survive in Bhubaneswar.Come Assembly session, the busy Janpath provides the most pathetic picture of traffic mismanagement in Bhubaneswar. The Commissionerate of Police seems to have no plan for the vehicular traffic when protestors and rallyists lay siege to the Station Square and the entire stretch of Mahatma Gandhi Road.The police show no anxiety to divert the traffic nor prepare alternative route charts to meet such situations even though they have the advance information of demonstrations, rallies and protests. Despite having the social media at its disposal, no attempt is made to inform commuters in advance about the road stretches on which rallies and processions are permitted and suggest alternate routes for public convenience.
What is more bizarre, despite having CCTV installed at most important junctions which are monitored from the control rooms, the Commissionerate Police makes no use of the surveillance to plan and control such traffic snarls which occur regularly along the specific routes.The most notorious junction of all in the city is Vani Vihar Square where as the evening descends the long distance passenger buses take over the stretch from Vani Vihar to Rasulgarh in their effort to pick-up passengers leaving little road space for the rest of the commuters to negotiate. Here, the traffic constables stay put at the junctions instead of fanning out to critical points to ease the problem.