Revamping Itanagar’s traffic management


Recent developments in Itanagar with regard to road construction are monumental. The completion of the four-lane road construction under Package A, from Hollongi to Papu-Nallah, has been a significant boon for the residents of Itanagar. Moreover, the ongoing construction under Packages B and C, extending from Papu-Nallah to Banderdewa, promises to further smoothen the transportation.

The proliferation of four-lane roads in Itanagar, particularly within the city and the route between Itanagar and Naharlagun, has immensely benefitted the populace. However, the resurgence of traffic congestion in the city presents a significant challenge.

As the economy of the state, and indeed the nation at large, burgeons, individuals are experiencing increased prosperity, leading to a higher propensity for private vehicle ownership. This leads to surge in vehicular traffic, exacerbating the already strenuous traffic situation in the city.

The government is actively pursuing various strategies to address these challenges, including the development of bypasses and alternative traffic routes, as well as redeveloping the existing roads within the city.

The existing transportation system in the city appears outdated, which is also a contributing factor to the increased traffic problems. The number of Tempos within the city and Trekkers plying between the cities exceeds the actual demand. Recently, the city administration issued notices regarding the fare for these modes of transportation, but it seems that the people’s preference for using them has declined, with everyone opting for privately owned vehicles to travel within the Itanagar Capital Region (ICR).

The use of individual vehicles in large numbers is the main cause of the traffic problem in the city. So, how can we encourage people to avoid using personal vehicles within the city and promote the use of general transportation? This is a significant question and not easy to address.

To address this issue, I have sought to comprehend the reasons behind the public’s aversion to general transportation in the ICR. Primarily, people avoid using general transportation due to the fare structure. The fares within the ICR exceed the average poverty level of the city’s inhabitants. For instance, a trip from Chimpu to Nyokum Lapang costs Rs 50 for two persons in a Tempo, whereas it costs only Rs 20 for two persons to reach the same destination on two-wheelers. Given this scenario, what would you choose? Similarly, if the fare for two persons from Itanagar to Naharlagun on Trekkers is Rs 100, it would cost only Rs 40 for two people covering the same distance on a two-wheeler or Rs 50-60 in a car.

The prevailing environment dictates that using general transportation is more expensive than traveling in a personal vehicle. Only the most financially constrained individuals and individuals affected by compulsion opt for general transportation. Those who own bikes, scooters, or cars can never contemplate using Tempos or Trekkers under these circumstances. This is why the denizens in the city prefer opting for individual vehicles instead of using general transportation. This is the primary aspect that requires immediate change through government intervention.

The government must sit down with the Tempo and Trekker unions to discuss, deliberate and come out with a concerted solution to deal the traffic conundrum.  Once the government and the unions get involved in finding a solution, the government should introduce a public transportation system.

A few years ago, the government operated two buses in the ICR, but these services seem to have stopped. It is essential for the government to relaunch this plan with a more user-friendly fare structure. I recommend that the government set the fares Rs 10-20 lower than those of private transportation options. This should be done in agreement with the Trekkers union in the ICR to ensure smooth implementation and cooperation.

Yomli Mayi