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Need a Change to be Change in City

by Ram Kumar Mishra, Mumbai(India), March 23, 2016

India’s prime commercial hub Mumbai is ridden with heavy traffic congestion on roads all time. This situation has more worsen and dismal in peak hours in morning and evening. Traffic block has identified as major road block in the way of city’s development programs’ execution. One side central government of India has given green signal to submit it in its Smart City Program, by developing and improving in its basic infrastructure at the cost of thousands million INR, and an another side the hand of state’s government still totally blank from any concrete and strong policy to handle the challenge of a heavy  traffic block on all highways, service roads and also in market streets.

A major traffic block outside of Ghatkopar railway station- a suburban area of Mumbai. photo: Ram K. Mishra

Today, there is utmost requirement to address the issue of parking in city, because in most of time developers usually ignore this issue while they make plan to develop city considering it a soft issue. But they forget its effect on working condition and for boost of transportation system of city. They ignore the data of running vehicles on roads that are 25,17,204 vehicles only in Greater Mumbai, 12,02,643 vehicles in western Mumbai, 7,95,015 vehicles in central Mumbai and 5,73,543 vehicles in eastern Mumbai, and the parking capacity of all parking plots in city and its suburbans areas is only 3.3 lacs vehicles.

Here is why the city’s roads are now chocking. This city’s roads are overcrowded with pedestrians; it is tough job to a person if he wants to get a safe corner at the road side for his safety during the walk through the streets or footpaths because it encroached by street hawkers. Mumbai Hawkers Union President Mr. Govind Kamtekar says more than 5 lacs street hawkers in city doing their business at footpaths and road sides in Mumbai and its suburban areas. They have encroached footpaths and roads side in major market areas of the city for their business. Local Municipal administration Brihannmumbai Corporation’s concerned officer says the encroachments of footpaths and road side are illegal; Corporation has delivered only 12000 license to the hawkers, besides this more than 5 lacs hawkers are in city. Due to road side encroachment by hawkers pedestrians are compelled to walk on road and thus vehicles’ drivers have to tackle the obstacles to drive on road.

photo: Ram K. Mishra

One strange thing you will get to see that a person who has not an apartment or a single room to live own self has own vehicle. Such kind of man thinks himself more respectful in his society who has his own vehicle to ride, this city has a craze to ride by own vehicle but this rubbish idea has make this whole city like a warehouse of used vehicles. If you walk through the road in late night, hardly would get safe way to walk on road because most number of lanes of road encroached with parked vehicles, few of them parked permanently from many months.

City transport officers fear that the number of vehicles may be more than available numbers to us because in most of cases it found that many vehicles have been registered in neighbor district’s transport office and run and park in main city. Such type of vehicles are increasing in city and this process must be bar with immediate effect otherwise traffic congestion on city roads will more serious in coming days.

Mumbai has only 2000 km road network and thus it is very important to be taken to control the increasing numbers of vehicles. Transport expert says that if the government and concerned authorities want to reduce traffic congestion and jams they have to a comprehensive mobility plane need to be prepared. Regulating parking rules introducing of congestion tax, controlling per family vehicle ownership, limiting the age of vehicle are a few steps that can be ruled out for the wellness of the city, safe driving and better green atmosphere.

Mumbai has been considered as an iconic city of India, besides this, the condition and the real face of city and the way of implementation of development programs, has a wide gape from the accepted or said theory relating to it. Looking all these “mess and lethargy” into various responsible departments hardly one would ready to accept that Mumbai would be submitted in those iconic cities like London or Tokyo in future from which Mumbai has been compared with. If this city is going to be the city of dreams then first of all must “have to change the ideas of its inhabitants”.   

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