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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Stuck? Blame it on lack of synergy

Siddhartha Rai , Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, September 23, 2013
First Published: 02:27 IST(23/9/2013) | Last Updated: 02:31 IST(23/9/2013)

The top traffic cop of the city feels that inter-agency cooperation is the only way forward to end the traffic woes of sprawling Gurgaon.

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The statement comes at a time when HT is expanding its ‘Taking a Toll on Your Commute Time’ campaign further and taking it beyond the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway.

Road traffic expert Rohit Baluja, the president of Indian Road Traffic Education (IRTE), New Delhi, is of the view that traffic cops are not meant to compensate for engineering faults as their main concern is just enforcement.

The authorities in Gurgaon have so far failed to comprehend the very concept of traffic management, and the typical malaise of Gurgaon traffic is that much was left for the expressway to handle, while internal road system suffered, feel experts.

“The traffic management in Gurgaon is poor because of the lack of synchronisation between the various departments. The city needs better road engineering and for that all the departments such as Huda, NHAI, PWD and MCG will have to cooperate with the traffic to improve the situation. We are having a meeting in this regard on Tuesday,” said joint commissioner of police (traffic) Bharti Arora.

With hundreds of lives lost in road accidents every year in the city, Gurgaon needs to refurbish its road infrastructure and related paraphernalia to really stand out as the land of promises that can rival the likes of global business centres like London, New York and Singapore.

“A city like Gurgaon needs to have a ‘traffic management centre’ with an inclusive ‘traffic engineering centre’ in which all authorities related to transport, roads, police, planning and health are involved. In India, if we take Gurgaon as an example, there is an absence of ‘traffic engineering’. The road authorities are not doing this job, which the traffic police are, by default, made to do without having knowledge and expertise on the subject,” says Baluja.

Evan as road accidents continue to claim more lives in the country than TB and malaria, urban centres have largely ignored road and traffic safety as pillars of sustainable development and a stepping stone to achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

Senior medical officer and head of casualty ward at Gurgaon Civil Hospital, Dr Sanjay Narula, told HT that nearly a quarter of the total capacity of beds in the hospital are occupied by victims of road traffic accidents.

Traffic police data shows that over 200 people have got killed on Gurgaon roads in accidents involving different modes of transport.

Out of 557 accident victims this year till June 30, 223 people got killed, while 512 got injured. Following national and international trends, most of these accidents and the deaths caused therein involved two-wheelers and pedestrians. In 223 cases of road accidents were two-wheelers involved and 190 accidents involved pedestrians.

Sanjeev Saxena, a resident of Sector 45, lost his father to a road accident early this year on the road in front of Medanta Medicity Hospital while the latter was on his regular cycling session.

“The problems lie both with planning as well as execution of road projects. While at planning stages, the future is ignored and only the present needs are catered to, execution is faulty and is done by contractors who know nothing about road engineering,” says Saxena.


Experts demand better facilities for pedestrians

Gurgaon: The apologists of Gurgaon may rank it among the global business capitals, but sceptics are not far behind in deprecating the prospects.
An utter lack of road engineering, lack of provisions for non-motorised transport and a complete absence of public transport can demoralise even the staunchest of protagonists.

“It is widely known that public transport is the only way out of our chocked roads. Gurgaon has to buckle up towards providing options of public transport before our roads are filled only with cars. The city is growing and this opportunity still exists.

“The authorities need to make this facility available as soon as possible. I remember the mayor of Bogota saying that a country truly develops when the rich use public transport,” said Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) councillor Nisha Singh.

With the number of vehicles as well as the number of road accidents following a steep upward curve, the city’s internal road infrastructure has proved grossly inadequate.

“My father died in a road accident in January this year because of faulty road design and absence of such basic infrastructure as pedestrian-friendly footpaths and cycle tracks. A car came and rammed into him just because he was on a cycle and moving slowly,” said Sanjeev Saxena, a resident of Sector 45.
Residents have long been arguing that just like any others, pedestrians, too, have a right to the road which is fundamental and which has been infringed upon by authorities.

“It is to be understood that unless we improve safety and accessibility, people would not use public transportation no matter how good it is. Therefore, the need of the hour is to create safe infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists and promote development of high-quality public transportation coupled with restrain on rampant road expansion,” says Amit Bhatt of EMBARQ India, a non-motorised transport expert.

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