Gone are the days when driving was a luxury, people reached on time for work, we had the good fortune of breathing clean air, we rarely heard the phrase “I am stuck in a traffic jam.” Since then, Chandigarh has become a modern city. However, recent events proved otherwise when our Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi visited Chandigarh on 11th September. Due to this, all schools were shut down (I am not complaining about that!) and main roads were closed leading to lots of traffic jams in the city.
One of the main reasons for these logjams is the lack of good quality public transportation systems available in the city. Public buses have been deemed unsafe on several occasions. Moreover, they look as if they might crumble to dust any minute. Another reason is the decrease in prices of vehicles, owing to which, Chandigarh now has the highest per capita ownership of motorized vehicles in the state. The rains are a welcome sight in the country but the unpreparedness of the Municipal Corporation coupled with the heavy rainfall lead to traffic snarls and water-logging.
It is no wonder that the local newspapers are reporting cases of severe accidents every day. The city reeks of chaos and lawlessness. People are stuck in jams, stressed, late for work, succumbing to speeding and breaking traffic rules and are thus, meeting with accidents. It is all a vicious circle. My very articulate, three year old cousin expressed his views too. He recently shifted with his parents to Chandigarh from Gurgaon. He said, rather grimly, “I don’t like Gurgaon or Chandigarh. Both have too much traffic!” Imagine our once serene city being equated in traffic with the hustling bustling Gurgaon.
Everybody has a chocie. We can either lament over these issues and continue to criticize the government. Or we can step up, take charge and clear the air (as well as the roads!) once and for all. The need of the hour is to improve the quality and increase the number and safety of the public transportation services. Bus stands should be constructed every few kilometres displaying directions and clear bus routes. Also, schools and offices must work together with the authorities to manage the traffic during rush hours. Proper allocation of parking spaces is essential. Roads should be made wider and potholes and drains repaired.
All this and more needs to be done in order to retain Chandigarh’s reputation as City Beautiful. Lets not turn it into another strifled and congested Mumbai or Delhi- We really don’t need more of those! Le Corbusier, the architect of Chandigarh once said, “One day people will come to Chandigarh to see the park wherein one does not see the automobile, where one sees the nature.”
I wish we’ll be able to live up to his expectations.