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These days the most vivid image that I have of this country, wherever I go, is of the number of cars and trucks and autos zooming in and out, surrounding you, closing in you, and finally suffocating you to death. Like there are always two sides to a story, this one also can be cut in two ways….the optimist in me looks at this as a mirror of the ‘progress’ we are making as a nation, the realist in me, always reminds me of the imminent danger that it presents ( I am not a pessimist, or so I’d like to believe 😉 )

Infrastructure is one of the pillars of development. Everyone from the learned economist to the poor farmer knows this, in their own ways. There has been quite some amount of debate on the pace and the rate at which we, as a nation, are keeping up on infrastructure development ( the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission is the main vehicle for Urban Infrastructure development, and it has been allocated Rs. 6866 crore in the latest budget, whereas the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund gets an allocation of Rs. 14,000 crore, with Rs. 4000 crore for rural roads alone  and you thought we only had the Golden Quadrilateral !?  ) and I think we are nowhere near to getting even a pass mark on this one by any standards ( even if we don’t compare ourselves to China). ( I know, I claimed not to be a pessimist 😉 )

But still the Rs. 6866 crores dont help me when I take more than 1 hour to commute to a place which should take me ideally 20 mins. But I mustn’t complain. I am witness to the great development happening around me. Like the flyover near the domestic airport at Mumbai. I see it everyday, from the very first day, when the fences came up with traffic diversions. I have seen it waiting to be laid brick by brick ( ok, slab by slab, if you please ). I have seen it as a gaping hole during last rains, and I think I have now started praying for its deliverance. I sometimes think, I have got a motherly feeling towards the flyover. Ahem…more like a Mother elephant though ( it has taken much more than 9 months, and I think it will touch 22 months 😉 )..Who knows I may have post-partum blues, if I don’t travel by the under-construction flyover everyday…!!!

But still all this is worth a try, i mean, wait…Isn’t it. We are part of the growth story of India, with its glorious 9% ( these days the glitter is a tad dull though ).

I know, I am not supposed to be a pessimist, and therefore, I need to give positive suggestions to improve the traffic condition in our city. I am sure there are much better and alive minds which have a lot of ingenous suggestions to better the traffic conditions, but I am unable to think out of the box here. Simply because I think what we need is not ” out-of-the-box” but a corruption-free time-bound mechanism to get things moving. You may think this is what we know already, but I emphasise, we need a mechanism to just get the regular things going, and we will be fine in no time.

  • Get the roads and the flyovers and the subways construction to be time-bound ( like in Delhi, for ex: ), otherwise the contractor pays a fine to every commuter who uses that road ( ok ok..its just a wish, you get the message…:-) )
  • Every second car in the family is taxed ( I know its a controversial one, but yes, if we need to burden the near-dilapidated urban infrastructure, we pay for it )
  • Corporates and govts( far-fetched, eh ? ) to incentivise use of car-pools / sharing etc ( We can do it voluntarily, if we do, so much better )
  • Switch to energy-efficient, and space saving modes of commutation…like the E-bikes, cycles ( if you are willing to be an acrobat on road that is )..
  • Use the local transport ( remember the good old college days 🙂 )
  • If using an auto/ taxi, walk some distance from and to your home/workplace before you get on to one…( Am not just preaching,I practice this mostly due to other reasons, but whatever..:-) )
  • Learn to be patient while driving. The theory of optimisation works here as well…Look at optimum results for all involved in the traffic, rather than just maximising your returns ( I mean, minimising your time inside the traffic snarl)…so, let the guy before you move, rather than try to overtake ( the guys on bikes, who try traffic stunts like driving over the pavements/ railing etc…in fact, I am quite sure, I will see someone ride over the roofs of cars, one of these days ) and make it even more difficult for everyone else to move on….
  • Talk on the phone while you are not driving and don’t drive when drunk

( Ooops….I have managed quite a few, in spite of my resolve to not sound like a record gone off tune..:-) )

Hope we all help improve the traffic in our city…God save our souls !!!

 The Mumbai Auto Attack

The Mumbai Auto Attack ( courtesy Wikimedia Commons )




One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By Blogathon India : Hell on the Roads by Santhi on 19 Apr 2008 at 4:13 pm

    […] the entire post at: previous:The Quota Conundrum by sachin […]

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