Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
Today many towns of Arunachal are experiencing traffic jams, especially during peak hours. Traffic jams are longest and most prevalent in the Itanagar Capital Region (ICR), consisting of Itanagar, Naharlagun, Nirjuli and Yupia. During peak hours, traffic jams are kilometres long and last for many hours, with traffic crawling along bumper to bumper. Similar traffic jams are experienced in towns like Pasighat, Doimukh, Aalo, Bomdila, Daporijo, Khonsa, Namsai, etc. Traffic jams lead to more pollution, longer travel time, loss of man hours, and frayed tempers/road rage cases. In a few cases, traffic jams prevent emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire tenders from reaching incident sites on time.
Traffic jams are caused by multiple factors, including narrow roads, hilly terrain, driving indiscipline, haphazard parking, not following traffic rules, etc. One more reason is too many four wheelers and big vehicles in our towns. It may not be wrong to say that the density of vehicles vis-à-vis population is highest in Arunachal.
Another cause for traffic jams is lack of comfortable public transport within our towns. Most of our towns do not have decent and comfortable city bus services to travel from one place to another. There is also a tendency of parking right in front of the shops. We just do not want to walk.
Most traffic jams in our towns could be avoided by constructing flyovers to bypass congested areas. A few strategically placed flyovers would ease traffic jams to a very large extent. A flyover from Naharlagun town to Pappu Nallah would bypass the congested Naharlagun township. Similarly, a flyover from Bank Tinali to Chandan Nagar in Itanagar would bypass the congested Ganga market. Similarly, flyovers should be constructed to bypass towns like Pasighat, Aalo, Doimukh, Bomdila, etc. Generally, highways should not pass through busy townships. Presently there are no flyovers in the state.
Being majorly hilly, most roads are winding roads with hairpin bends, and are regularly affected by landslides, leading to road blockages. Flyovers offer viable solutions to long, winding hilly roads troubled by frequent landslides. Flyovers could lead to lesser problems due to landslides, road cutting, land acquisition/environmental issues, cut down travel time, and maybe cost lesser also.
It may also be the right time to start planning for metro rail transport systems in our towns (preferably underground), especially in the ICR.
Metro systems are not only better and more efficient commuting systems; they could also double up as underground shelters during future enemy aerial attacks and during nuclear, chemical warfare. Metro rail transport systems would ease traffic jams and reduce travel time between places.
Traffic jams occurs in many towns and cities. However, many states are constructing flyovers and smart roads to bypass towns/cities and traffic congested areas. Similarly, many towns/cities are constructing metro rail transport systems. Isn’t it time for Arunachal also to construct swanky flyovers and metros? (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)