Srinagar- The shift in school timings within and outside Srinagar Municipal limits has worsened traffic problems at a time when it has become more frequent in the crowded city roads.
Commuters expressed disappointment at the regular gridlock on the streets of Srinagar, claiming it has become a regular occurrence, especially at Lal Chowk, Jahangir Chowk, Hyderpora, Shalteng, Saida Kadal, Gojwara, Nowhatta, and Habak.
Long lines of cars are frequently observed stuck on roads, especially in the morning. Talking to Kashmir Observer, most of the commuters expressed their annoyance over the city’s never-ending gridlock.
“Traffic jams have become a routine affair on the Saida Kadal-Dargah route leading to Kashmir University. The traffic jams mostly occur during morning hours.” said Imran Hussain, a student of Kashmir University, adding traffic jams have increased, ever since the work on drainage was started in our area” Imran added.
Another commuter, Zainul Abideen, who works at a private hospital in Qamarwari, had similar views about traffic jams in Shalteng locality.
“Traffic jams worsen in morning and evening hours, unfortunately many people do not follow traffic norms, leading to more irksome jamming” Zain said.
However, Traffic Officials say the clash in office and school timings is the main reason for traffic jams across the city.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Traffic Muzaffar Ahmad Shah told Kashmir Observer that simultaneous reopening of offices, businesses, and schools puts immense pressure on the roads that eventually leads to gridlocks.
“I think there should be further modifications in school timings, or else it is going to be difficult to streamline traffic. The schools, offices and business establishments open almost at the same time which causes congestion on roads” Muzaffar said.
“No parent wants to see his or her children stuck in traffic for long” he added.
In a bid to question the School Education Department over the new school timings, Kashmir Observer contacted several officials. However, they kept passing the buck.
When contacted the Additional Secretary School Education Department, Naseer Wani said that the school timings do not come under his domain and the Director is the relevant person to be contacted.
Despite repeated attempts the Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) Tasaduq Hussain Mir was not available for comments. When contacted, he did not respond to several calls. When Kashmir Observer tried to reach his office, the officials present there said he was on leave.
Moreover, the Joint Director School Education Department (Central Kashmir), Mohammad Rouf Rehman also passed the buck to the Director Education, saying he is not authorized to talk to the media.
“I am barred from talking to the Press, talking to the media is a thing of the past” Rouf said.
Pertinently, the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) had announced a change in school timings for all government and private schools starting from November 1st.
According to a communiqué from the DSEK, schools within Srinagar municipality limits were told to operate from 10 AM to 3 PM. For schools outside the municipality limits of Srinagar district, the new timing was set from 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM.
ITMS TO BE A GAMECHANGER
Meanwhile, the work on the much talked about Intelligent Traffic Management System (ITMS) is nearing completion and traffic officials say it will help in clearing the traffic mess, once the project is completed.
“At present the ITMS has configuration issues with the virtual port. The configuration of ITMS is being done with NIC and Privahan as we speak. It is a major process that needs to be completed.” SSP Traffic Muzaffar Shah said.
“Once the Intelligent Traffic Management System (ITMS) is functional in the summer capital, there will be visible change in the traffic scenario” the City Traffic Police Chief said.
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