Buying a car, bike? Build a garage first

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By KHELEN THOKCHOM WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY OUR CORRESPONDENT IN SHILLONG
  • Published 22.03.12
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Imphal, March 21: The Manipur government is working on a plan to allow only those who have garage space to buy four-wheelers and two-wheelers in a bid to ease traffic congestion in the city and other towns of the state.

Responding to a call attention motion raised by two Opposition members in the Assembly today on the “serious problem” of traffic congestion in the city, chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh said, “Our plan is to allow purchase of cars and two-wheelers only to those who have parking space at home. This rule is followed in some of the western countries I have visited.”

Raising the matter, Trinamul Congress legislators I. Ibohalbi Singh and Khumukcham Joykisan said students, government employees, and other people in the city could not reach their schools and work places on time because of traffic congestion.

Ibobi Singh said he would consult experts and carry out a study on the ratio of population and vehicles in the state to fix the number of vehicles that can be purchased in a year.

The latest official figures put the number of vehicles in the state at two lakh. In March 2010, the number was about 1,50,000.

If the plan materialises, the government will issue application forms for purchase of vehicles and grant permission only to those who can produce a certificate, issued by a competent government authority, that the applicant has parking space in his/her home. It is observed that residents of the city who do not have parking spaces in their homes or shops, park their vehicles on the city roads, blocking the flow of traffic.

A senior official in the transport department said he could not say whether the plan would work in Manipur, but he was aware that such restrictions existed in countries like Japan. “But all the pros and cons should be discussed threadbare before the plan is finalised,” he added.

Ibobi Singh also said his government was planning to construct link roads, widen the existing ones and divert the stretch of Imphal-Dimapur highway passing through the city to its outer limit to ease traffic congestion.

Another city of the Northeast that perennially faces traffic congestion is Meghalaya’s capital, Shillong. There have been instances of people missing flights, students coming in late for exams and patients dying on way to hospital because of traffic snarls.

Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma, on being asked about the Manipur government’s proposal, said it was a “good idea” but added that a complete study should be carried out first.

On whether such restrictions would limit an individual’s freedom, he said, “This issue needs a diligent study and the only solution seems to be ensuring an efficient and better public transport system in the states. In foreign countries, they can implement such restrictions as they have a better public transport system.”