Kalanki people reeling under traffic congestion

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 7:

Residents of the Kalanki chowk and neighbouring areas have almost forgotten what peaceful living is. The never-ending traffic congestion, clouds of dust and hoarse sound of vehicles from dawn to dusk have made their lives a mess. Since traffic congestion is an everyday affair, people living near Kalanki prefer to walk rather than board a vehicle. That way, they can reach the destination earlier. The narrow Kalanki road is one of the root causes of chaotic environment at Kalanki and the surrounding areas. However, there are other reasons that are contributing to the problem. One of the root causes of the problem is that no one bothers to follow the rules of the road. Traffic signals and zebra crossings are nothing for drivers and the pedestrians.

While Kalanki continues to reel under all these problems, there is no dearth of people who say that the traffic police are to blame. "What is the work of the traffic personnel if they cannot take action against the drivers who do not follow the rules," retorts Shyam Shrestha, an ex-police officer. Officials at the Kalanki Traffic Post, Kalanki, say that since the government has not provided them with enough traffic police personnel, they cannot manage the road in a better manner. Lack of sufficient staffers is not the only problem behind the sorry state of affairs at the road, however. Traffic police personnel say that the number of vehicles plying here is far more than the road can handle. Says assistant sub inspector of traffic, Hari Singh Dhami, "Since the number of vehicles plying here is more than the road can handle, we can do nothing to control the situation."

Every day, hundreds of long-route vehicles enter and depart Kathmandu through the two-lane Kalanki-Thankot road. Since it is the only junction connecting Kathmandu with the eastern and western parts of the nation, vehicular congestion is quite obvious here. Gopal Katwal, engineer, Road Department, says that the road is too narrow to accommodate these vehicles. "The road must be six lane, if not at least four lane to lessen the vehicular pressure on the road." The problem of congestion has affected vehicle entrepreneurs alike. "Taking congestion at Kalanki into consideration, we are shifting the day bus park very soon," says Chandra Raj Adhikari, a bus entrepreneur. Is there any solution to such a burning problem? May be. Engineer Katwal has some. "The road should be enlarged, link roads should be constructed and law enforcement should be stricter," he says. Is the government listening?