Promises after promises for improvement of traffic chaos make no difference in Imphal city. Since 2014, Imphal Times has been drawing the attention of the concern government authority to take up some stringent measures for its improvement. When BJP led government under Chief Minister N. Biren Singh came to power people waited for change as he himself had stated that he will make sure that the traffic regulation improved. But people continue to face horror while walking or driving in the streets of Imphal. Is it the government alone that should be blamed or is it lack of discipline of the people riding vehicles.
To be frank, Imphal city witness a phenomenal increase in the amount of vehicles. This perhaps can be taken as an indication of the rising social status of the public and improving economic conditions in the state. While these factors are a welcome sign, the fact remains that the concerned authorities have failed to keep pace with the times and the changing social scenario in the state resulting in heavy traffic jams and delays which needs to be addressed immediately. An effort to fix responsibility to the citizens in maintaining road discipline is what the government should plan and implement.
The short term policies and systems being implemented from time to time in an attempt to ease the congestions and traffic jams have not been able to alleviate the problem in any way, on the contrary these ad-hoc measures have managed to confuse the public and compound the problem the authorities have been trying to solve. The meeting of Traffic regulation and parking committee convened by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh has not been of much help, and no sitting of the TRPC is being heard today. Queries put up to the concerned departments have only resulted in more bewildering responses- a classic example of the effectiveness of passing the buck around that has been at work in all government set ups.
While formulation of policies and systems to control and regulate traffic may be a beginning in the right direction, the fact remains that the increasing number of vehicles need additional space to accommodate them and juggling acts of the traffic system by the experts, however efficient and experienced they may be, will not bear fruit. In addition to the footbridge being constructed in many part of Imphal city what is required are additional parking spaces at strategic locations.
However, construction of public utilities does not automatically guarantee improvement- their proper usage is as important- an obvious example being the use of footpaths by the vendors and shopkeepers to stock and ply their goods forcing the pedestrians to walk on the road. The need to streamline and re-orient the traffic police personnels is also being felt by the public. Turning a blind eye to the irregularities being committed by the drivers of various public and commercial transport vehicles in consideration for a “quick handshake” has been well documented- despite the dangers and inconveniences such greedy acts causes. The present government ministers and high ranking officials may not be feeling the burden such traffic jams causes as they seem to have a prerogative of the right of use of the road over the common public but unless some concrete steps are taken up very soon, the only option that would be available to them would be to use their feet with their retinue of escorts and assistants wading through the impossible traffic- surely a distracting relief for the stranded common public on the road.