The recent increase in the drive to impose traffic rules across the country has garnered reactions ranging from the positive to ones which are downright derogatory and mostly funny. Various social media sites have come out with pictures and video clips portraying the irony of such stringent rules, for the simple fact that what the authorities are imposing on the public are being violated by the law enforcers themselves in most cases. a lot of airtime has been generated in discussions regarding the same, and if the government have paid heed to the general opinion across the country, then it should agree and initiate a plan of action in accordance with the need of the public to get access to better roads and more systematic traffic arrangements.
There also remains the ironic fact that while the government insists its citizens to wear ISI marked helmets only, sub-standard helmets still outsell ISI marked ones by a big margin. The only obvious solution should be to put a blanket ban on the production of any sub-standard riding helmets in the country, but by the looks of it, the thought have not even crossed the collective minds of the authorities yet. And what is the government doing to decrease the logjam of applicants for driving licenses across the country?
While the enforcements of wearing ISI marked helmets and prevention of triple-riding or even multiple-riding in various cases are positive measures to promote road safety and prevent unwanted accidents, the authorities should also take up other equally important steps to ensure that the public are provided with the best safety practices and facilities on the road. One such step could be to put up a system where the defaulters are provided with services to procure helmets or licenses as the case may be after obtaining the required fines from them according to the nature of violations. Another aspect the government need to look into is the parking issue that is becoming increasingly worse with each passing day, and as experts have expressed earlier, the few narrow roads in and around Imphal city that are causing a bottleneck to the smooth flow of traffic needs to be addressed at the earliest. Controlling and regulating public transport is of vital importance if any semblance of order is to be restored on the roads and traffic rules are maintained. The best solution to this particular challenge would be to revive the almost non-existent government public transport so that at least there is a fillip in the unorganised public transport sector which is making road safety a real concern this very moment. A visible lack of traffic personnel at busy junctions and intersections during peak traffic hours is also a point to be noted and work on for the state authorities.
If the government both at the national and state level is serious about improving traffic awareness and public safety, there is a need for coordinated system to be put into place and implemented properly. The onus of ensuring traffic safety and observance of rules should not be left only to the public, and issuing of Challans and fines for violations, while being great deterrent to law-breakers, should not be viewed as the solution to every traffic problem in the country and the state. There still are a great deal of obligations that the government should fulfil towards the public if any positive and visible result is to be achieved from all the efforts being undertaken at present to ensure better traffic control and compliance of rules and regulations by the public. Traffic related challenges are real and ever present concern. The faster the central and state government draws up a systematic, integrated and sustainable plan of action and implement the same in right earnest putting the welfare and safety of the public first, the better off everyone will be.
Jeet Akoijam, Resident Editor of Imphal Times hails from Singjamei Liwa Road. Has been with Imphal Times since its start. A National level Rugby player and a regular Trekker and Nature Lover, loves spending time in lap of Mother Nature. Jeet is the father of two lovely kids. Jeet can be contacted at [email protected]