statesman news service
GANGTOK, 18 JUNE: Traffic snarls during the rush hour have been a trouble for daily commuters on the Tadong-Gangtok route.
“It&’s either that the traffic system has gone off track or it is negligence. It is better to walk than take a taxi ride. On a number of occasions I have missed many appointments,” said a daily commuter on condition on anonymity.
A journey from Tadong to Gangtok now takes 45 minutes or more instead of 10 minutes, with Sunday being an exception. Ninety nine per cent offices are closed on Sunday which is why the traffic remains normal.
The deadly snarls have equally affected taxi owners. “The jam has resulted in a huge loss for us. My trips have come down to half,” complains a taxi driver.
For some, however, it’s business. “If there is a jam it means less taxis are plying and there are more passengers for the ones that are running,” added another driver.
The reason for such huge snarls is the increase in the number of vehicles plying on NH-31 A that connects the Himalayan state with the rest of the country, said officials from the transport department.
The Motor Vehicles Department registered 2390 number of vehicles, including taxis and private vehicles in 2009. The number soared to 10,664 within four years in the east district alone.
This year till May, the department has registered 230 vehicles in the east district.
Figures available show that in the other three districts vehicles registered in 2012 were 1,906, 1,331 and 2,639 respectively. Most of the vehicles, however, are owned by Gangtokians.
The deputy superintendent of police, Ms Ongmu Bhutia, said: “Given the circumstances, people should leave early for their destinations. The snarls can be controlled only if there is less use of private vehicles”.
She suggested that a mini bus service would ease the snarl.
With the increasing number of vehicles officials in the traffic system has not been able to find a solution.
Police said that there is no alternative route to divert traffic.