|Vehicles stuck near Jubilee Park roundabout in Jamshedpur on Tuesday afternoon. Picture by Bhola Prasad
The biggest casualty of the mass transfer of government officers ahead of the Lok Sabha election has been the traffic situation in Jamshedpur.
With experienced personnel making way for a young batch of policemen, who have little idea about the steel city roads, snarls have become routine during rush hour over the past few days.
Almost all major thoroughfares — Straight Mile Road between Sakchi and Baradwari, Sakchi Kalimati Road near Kasidih, Baug-E-Jamsheed roundabout on Pipeline Road, Bistupur Main Road near Bistupur roundabout, Dimna Road between Mango post office and Mango bridge, and Jubilee Park roundabout in Sakchi — are choking with vehicles crawling at a snail’s pace.
The chaos becomes acute from 6.30am to 8.30am, noon to 1.30pm and 5pm to 6pm, when schools and offices open and shut and the number of vehicles are maximum on roads, giving a hard time to commuters.
The blame is largely on the mass exodus of senior officers of the rank of inspectors from all five traffic police stations of the city — Jugsalai, Sakchi, Bistupur, Mango and Golmuri — in mid-February. The shiftings took place in keeping with the Election Commission guideline that government officers, who have served for more than three years in a particular district, must be transferred ahead of elections.
But the new team that took charge a week ago is clearly not trained to handle traffic on Jamshedpur roads.
Admitting as much, traffic DSP R.M. Sinha said: “Most of these personnel have been promoted from lower ranks and don’t have much knowledge in regulating traffic. They are yet to understand the topography of the region and traffic routes. We will organise orientation sessions soon. Gradually, things will improve.”
But till that happens, commuters have to bear the brunt.
“It took me more than 40 minutes to cover 3km from Sakchi to Bistupur post office on my bike last morning (Monday). Initially, I thought the snarls were caused by the Founder’s Day pageantry, but I was surprised when I faced a similar situation while returning in the afternoon,” said Debashish Dhar, a resident of Sidhgora.
According to the Tata Steel employee, the spacious Sakchi-Bistupur Main Road usually does not witness much congestion. “But other commuters, who were caught in the snarl and are regular on that stretch, said the traffic situation had turned bad over the last four days,” he added.
The poor traffic management has severely compromised pedestrian safety as small commercial vehicles like auto-rickshaws, which are prone to taking short cuts on inter-linked arteries, have now got more reasons to flout rules on the pretext of loses.
“Kuch dino se traffic jam mein phansne se bahut nuksan ho raha hai. Samay jyada lagne se trip bhi kam ho raha hain aur diesel bhi jyada lag raha hain. Majbooor mein side road se ghoosna padhta hai, time make up karne mein thoda jaldbaazi ho jati hai (We had been incurring losses because of traffic jam for the last few days. We are not being to make more number of trips. Besides, fuel burns fast when the vehicle is stuck in jam. We are forced to take detours through pothole-laden lanes and bylanes and have no option but to drive recklessly to make up for lost time),” said Mohammed Shamsher, an auto driver plying between Sakchi and Tatanagar station.
What should the traffic brass do to ease snarls?