Police inaction triggers chokeholds at Dalgate-Boulevard crossing

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Top traffic brass shirks responsibility; DGP assures action

SRINAGAR: The all important Dalgate-Boulevard crossing serving as a gateway to the tourist destinations along the Dal lake and further has turned into a big headache for the locals, shopkeepers and tourists allegedly by the police inaction that results in massive chokeholds virtually all the day long.

“I had to report to the airport one hour before the departure of the flight,” said a tourist from Delhi who wished not to be named. “I took up a taxi after checking out of my houseboat and headed towards the airport but the taxi got stuck up at many places from Nehru Park on particularly at the Dalgate crossing.”

The tourist unfortunately missed the flight and had to spend another day in Kashmir unnecessarily. “The delay has cost me dearly as I not only missed the flight but have suffered financial loss as well,” he said. “I work in a company and my entire schedule has fallen on its head.”

The logjam at Dalgate slows down vehicular movement right from the Maulana Azad Road resulting in traffic interruptions at many places all along the route up to Nehru Park while the police authorities give weird explanations:

“I beat up a driver in the morning today and what he did in return: he parked his Sumo right in the middle of the road,” said a confused policeman manning the post at Dalgate crossing. “The drivers don’t obey the traffic laws and the mess is in front of you.”

Asked why the police allow the drivers to halt their vehicles at the crossing, he said. “Where would they go, they have a family to feed and need to pick up the passengers.”

He, however, beat around the bush on asking why he beat up a driver in the morning.

Interestingly, the police have blocked a major portion of the road which they use for parking their vehicles. “Our own security takes the precedence here,” he said. “We can regulate the traffic only when we’re safe, therefore, the portion of the road must be separated for the parking of our own vehicles.”

A group of the paramilitary CRPF stationed at the Crossing also use the space cut-out from the road for parking their vehicles adding to the chaos.

When asked why the police can’t implement traffic laws by imposing fine on errant drivers, he said: “What people are you talking about sir. They don’t have a traffic sense.”

The shopkeepers nearby, however, allege the police have installed the post to extract money from the drivers. “They (drivers) grease their palms on daily-basis and that fattens their (police) kitty,” one of the shopkeepers said. “By the fall of the night, several trucks pass by the Crossing carrying building material which is illegal as no constructions are allowed in the Green Belt areas. The policemen posted here exhort money from them and allow them to pass.”

The matter when brought into the notice of the Inspector General of Police, Traffic, he shrugged his responsibility off his shoulders and instead urged to get in touch with the Director General of Police. “Our job is to regulate the traffic only and it doesn’t fall into the jurisdiction of the Traffic Police whether a part of the road has been annexed for whatever reasons,” IGP, J P Singh said. “You better get in touch with the DG Police.”

The DG Police, K Rajindra told Kashmir Observer that he would look in the matter and get the mess sorted out. “I’ll order an inquiry and do whatever possible to alleviate the suffering of the people,” Rajinder said.

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