Students of several schools situated on Janda Wala Road jostle for space every day, soon after their classes are over at 3pm, thanks to chaotic traffic.
Congestion alone is not only the matter of concern, but safety of students is also at risk. The dilapidated condition of road coupled with heavy vehicular traffic pose a threat to them.
Besides creating traffic bottlenecks on busy thoroughfares around the schools, the chaotic conditions also leave a bad impression on young minds as they might misunderstand traffic discipline.
With several vehicles, including two-wheelers, autorickshaws, cars and vans, arriving here to drop and pick students, the plight of the students who have to cross the road amid fast moving goods carriers cannot be explained.
The situation turns worse during the morning and evening hours when schools open and close. About 4,000 students of Gandhi Arya High School, Dayanand Kendriya Vidya Mandir, Government Girls School and Rampion Model School use this road to reach school.
Sometimes a traffic cop is present there to regulate the traffic and movement of students, but his efforts come to naught because of the last-minute rush of vehicles. Girl students, stuck in traffic, fall prey to eve-teasers. Gandhi Arya High School headmaster Ram Kumar Sobti said, "On and off, I stand outside the school gate to save girl students from nuisance of eve-teasing."
A cross section of area residents say all agencies, including traffic police, municipal council, transport department authorities, besides school managements and road users, should jointly find a solution to put an end to this menace and ease congestion.
Traffic congestion is also caused or exacerbated by commuters whose take routes near school to reduce travel time when the railway crossing is not open. When asked, parents who choose to take their children by car, cite distance, traffic hazards, time constraint and bad weather as reasons for using the private transport.
Sometimes congestion outside schools creates a speeding frenzy, as parents and commuters who come to drop and pick their kids try to make up for the lost time.
Disregard for traffic regulations, haphazard parking and indiscipline while crossing roads are order of the day. Traffic congestion is not the only problem here. Big potholes on the road and choked sewers during rains can also cause untoward incidents.
When the railways crossing is not open, even the other road going to the opposite side is out of bounds as passage towards Sanghera Road gets blocked with vehicles to Sekha Road.
While parents are having a very difficult time in tackling the issue of traffic congestion around schools, Gandhi Arya High School has adopted a different strategy to address the issue. It calls off classes in three shifts at 3pm, 3.10pm and 3.20pm to reduce the rush.
Rahul Garg, a chartered accountant, said, "Sometimes drivers speed up when they see that the railway crossing is about to close, which may lead to a mishap."
"Mini-buses disturb classes in school as they keep on blaring horns. Traffic police should fine buses that use pressure horns," said Raj Mahinder, a schoolteacher.
Navdeep Garg Bobby, an area resident said, "Road safety and traffic safety programmes should be organised regularly in schools and made part of the academic curriculum."
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Presence of traffic police personnel may help in ensuring free flow of traffic. Two traffic cops should be deployed permanently here at least during school hours for safety of students.
Ram Kumar Sobti, school headmaster
Heavy vehicles on this road pose a threat to students. Private buses and trucks should be diverted to Sanghera Road or Ramgarhia Gurdwara Road to ease traffic situation
Rahul Dev Garg
Road safety and traffic safety programmes should be organised regularly
in schools and these topics should also be made part of academic curriculum
Navdeep Garg Bobby, area resident
We don't have enough traffic staff. But we shall endeavour to deploy one cop permanently there
Baljit Singh, traffic in-charge