By R Gupta
Tennese Williams once said that it’s time that is the longest distance between two places. And after yesterday’s drive from office to home, I understood its meaning. It’s a 10km distance from my residence to office and driving with a nominal speed of 40KM/hr., it should take around 15 minutes to reach. Now considering that it’s a city drive, let’s add 10 minutes give or take; which it normally takes me when I leave for office in a non-rush hour. But it’s a traffic mayhem by the time I return back home during a rush hour.
The Parade chowk has always been jam packed with the rash and careless mini-buses moving rampantly in every direction possible. No regard of traffic rule is kept, let alone the doubtfully misplaced traffic light would be considered. Half of the road has been transformed into a parking lot stretching throughout the old city, and whatever motorable road left is crowded with peddlers, two wheeler, and every other thing that can move in that space.
The same pattern replicates to some across-Tawi- bridge areas like Nanak Nagar Chowk and Apsara Road, Gandhi Nagar.
Now so to speak, Gandh Nagar, Trikuta Nagar, Nanak Nagar and Channi are wider and spacious areas where traffic can freely move if let be. But the market spread places have the same parking condition where people cover half the road with their cars parked. In a rush hour, it almost feels like forever to travel through the Apsara Road.
Other high traffic prone areas like Nanak Nagar chowk and chowk near Nanak Nagar Gurudwara also see stuck cars and frustrated drivers, honking their horns constantly, trying to seep out from every inch of road they can physically grasp. Now, let’s go to the other part of the city, the infamous New Plot to Janipur main stop stretch.
New Plots used to be new three decades back. Now, it’s planning and road is proving rather short of its width to cater to a smooth flow of traffic. Mini buses and truck take the same road as the personal cars and the havoc they create in the evening is a wish to never wish for. And then there comes the wretched stretch of Janipur Main Stop Chowk. This stretch has two consecutive chowks that have a heavy flow of traffic and it makes you wish that you could just leave your car and walk home. And two my utter misfortune, I encounter this stretch everyday on the way to home.
Now the time it takes to travel from my office normally is 20 minutes. And due to the traffic jams, it becomes 60 minutes. Now those 40 minutes of time I spend stuck in car, inhaling the polluted exhaust of the mini buses, feeling frustrated and drained with every minute of it. Now I travel twice a day, for 26 days a month, and I have been driving to work for 7 months now. On doing the maths, I have spent 14560 minutes or 242 hours of my life staying stuck in the same traffic, inhaling the same polluted fumes and feeling same frustration.
Al though the flyover running from Dogra chowk to Tawi bridge has been able to diverge some traffic off the National Highway but its high time a significant plan for some strict parking rules, more parking spaces near markets, efficient traffic regulation and some new fly overs be taken up by the administration. It’s high time, to save our time.