Damn traffic

The problem of acute traffic congestion in the capital is not new. Moreover, as the numbers of vehicles continue to grow exponentially, getting stuck in the traffic jam for hours, especially during rush hours, is an experience Kathmanduites have been more than accustomed to. As in the previous years, the Traffic Police in the valley have initiated a month-long campaign in a bid to raise awareness about traffic rules to avoid jams, but the exercise has apparently been fruitless for a number of reasons. Though hundreds of traffic and police personnel have been deployed at 82 major intersections in the capital, with instructions for them to regulate the traffic strictly, there has been no perceptible improvement in the capital’s chaotic traffic scenario.

The Traffic Police in the capital cite the paucity of resources and poor public awareness about traffic rules for the unruly traffic, but there is more to it. Though the government has installed traffic lights at major intersections in the capital, the public is yet to get used to them. On the other hand, traffic cops, who are inadequately deployed apart from imposing erratic and unreasonable rules to the annoyance of the public, are sometimes strangely lenient in penalising those who flout them, while at other times they are too harsh on drivers. Besides, the government has taken no initiative to widen the narrow streets in the capital to take care of the growth in the number of vehicles. Unless these and other related problems are addressed, regular traffic jams will continue to be a part of the life for valley residents.