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Parking paralysis


‘An exercise in futility’ would perhaps best describe the ongoing determined attempt of the state traffic police to control and maintain proper parking rules and regulations in the city. The seemingly harsh observation which is more an opinion than a qualified assessment is derived from the experiences, narrations, discussions and reactions from concerned public and bewildered motorists who have pointed out certain highlights to drive home the truth of the present situation.
 The present efforts of the state authorities particularly the Imphal West Traffic Police to streamline parking methods as well as to regulate and prevent illegal parking so as to ensure minimal resistance to traffic flow in and around the city is a much needed exercise in light of the steadily increasing vehicular traffic in the city. The state has seen and experienced a rapid surge in the volume of traffic during the last decade which, while being a good indicator of increasing disposable income of the people in the state, has been proving to be a worsening problem as regulating traffic is becoming an increasingly challenging task. And the challenge is only set to get even more difficult.

The most pertinent question then is how the existing resources in terms of manpower and available spaces be utilized to ease the increasingly worsening traffic woes in the state capital. The initiative of the state government to revive the state road transport is laudable, but as of now, there are few takers which indicate an inherent flaw in the arrangement which the state think tank need to review, identify and address. Lack of dedicated parking spaces for public transporters such as autorickshaws, wingers etc around the periphery of the heart of the city, as well as the lack of a feeder transport system to ferry the public into the heart of the city has been a major stumbling block in the effort to regulate traffic in the heart of the city. The state run public transport system can be effectively used to provide the necessary service. Proper and highly visible demarcation of parking spaces with strict enforcement to comply with the authorities will definitely yield the desired result.
However, the biggest and most overlooked factor contributing to the congestions which has been baffling the public is the deliberate ignorance of the authorities- read police personnel doing the rounds in the heart of the city enforcing traffic rules and parking regulations- are the scores of women vendors displaying their wares within the parking spaces along the Thangal Bazar stretch on both sides of the road depriving the public of the much needed parking spaces. Their number is rapidly increasing by the day and is at present occupying almost half the designated parking spaces. Roadside vendors are also now spilling over onto the Paona Bazar side as well. Another prominent situation which the authorities have so far failed to notice is the encroachment of pavements/footpaths by shops for displaying their wares forcing the public to walk on the road.
Unless all the factors contributing to traffic congestion are taken into consideration and an inclusive plan to tackle the issue is drawn up and put into action, no amount of patchy albeit spirited efforts will bring the desired result.

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