In 2012, Srinagar Has no Bus Stop
Shafat Farooq (Kashmir Monitor)
Srinagar: The lofty claims of the state government that it will make the Srinagar city one of the finest in India may be a distant dream even for the residents of Srinagar as even in the 21st century this summer capital is without the bus stops.
Though in the past the government had taken initiatives to construct the bus stops here in the Srinagar city alone, but the bizarre schemes of the successive regimes produced nothing till date.
Srinagar city has a population of over 13lacs and over the years the population of private vehicles plying on the streets of city has grown tremendously, but to the utter shock of the commuters the city has no bus stops resultantly adding to the day to day traffic woes in the city.
A cursory look at the bus stop system of the Srinagar city presents a gloomy picture of this city. Although the city has near about 50 bus stops but majority of them have either been captured by the road side vendors or the bus stops are lying unattended at many places.
“Commuters are forced to wait for buses while standing on the roadside under severe weather conditions during the summer season due to the absence of bus stops,” said a resident of civil lines Manan Syed.
“In the past, many bus stops were constructed in the civil lines and the downtown but the municipal authorities never bothered to maintain or to repair them subsequently. The problem here is that there exists no such culture to board a bus at a bus stop, people have to be educated first about their use,” Manan added.
Although the Srinagar Municipal Corporation had constructed many bus-stops across the city, but due to its negligence, the commuters could not take advantage from them. Sheds of various bus stops set up on different routes, are either broken down or have holes in them.
At Dalgate two bus stops were erected five years ago, not by the municipal authorities but by CRPF, today these bus stops have become the haven for the non-state beggars and some mentally retard persons who have erected the make shift tents with these bus stops.
“The passengers, including women, students and old-age citizens have to stay for long under these broken sheds. Commuters have to wait on footpath or by standing on the roadside for the transport due to the absence of proper bus stops or sheds. And in the summer season and after monsoon rains, it becomes very difficult for the commuters to wait without sheds,” Sarwar Hussain, a commuter waiting at Regal Chowk for public transport, said.
Asking the authorities to talk less and do more on the ground, Kashmir’s veteran poet and President Valley Citizen Council, Zareef Ahmed Zareef said the district administration should wakeup and ‘fulfil their otherwise hollow slogans’
“Municipal authorities have to look over such issues. The government is totally responsible for this grim picture of the city,” Zareef said.
Zareef in his typical style while mocking at the government said, the “West is planning to conquer Mars after having landed on the moon but we in Kashmiri still dream about having better footpaths.”
The residents of the downtown said due to the non-availability of the bus stops, the downtown witness’s heavy traffic jam every other day.
They said the commuters are forced to wait for passenger buses on the roadside due to which traffic jam occurs frequently.
“The drivers of the passenger buses stop their vehicles where ever they want, even some times in the midst of the road due to which many vehicles are forced to line in a queue resulting in a traffic jam,” Said Faizan Syed Naqaush a resident of downtown.
“Bus stops at many places can be of immense convenience to streamline the traffic mess in the city. It will not only serve residents of Srinagar and other townships in an effective way, but also help in mitigating vehicular congestion in the valley,” SP traffic city Haseeb-ur-Rehman told The Kashmir Monitor over phone.
He said the traffic department has identified 164 spots in the Srinagar city alone for the creation of bus stops out of which 25 are under construction.
“I have already submitted a proposal to the Srinagar Municipal Corporation by which city will get a different look in the coming months. Out of 164 bus stops, 25 bus stops in the city are going under construction and the rest of them will be completed in the next 6 months’ time,” Haseeb claimed.