The Meghalaya High Court today expressed concern over the worsening traffic congestion in and around Shillong and said that the problem appeared to have no immediate solution
The division bench of the High Court was hearing a PIL by local lawyer Philip Khrawbok Shati on the matter.
“On the ground, however, it appears that the situation is getting worse by the day. Getting into Shillong from the Guwahati-Shillong highway is a near nightmare. Further, at peak office-hours and during early morning and early afternoon school hours, traffic all across the city comes to a standstill. With increasing number of cars and no attempt to increase the road space and very little facilities for parking, the problem appears to have no immediate solution,” the High Court observed.
The petitioner told the court that though the State government has invested in buses with a lot of fanfare for school children to be ferried by them, the government has not taken steps to assure parents of the security of their wards.
As a consequence, according to the petitioner, there is lukewarm response from parents and guardians in such regard. The petitioner suggests that government representatives should visit individual schools and request for meeting the parents to make them aware and assure them of the safety of their wards, if they travel to school and back in government buses.
He also said that an App had been prepared by the government, but the main issue appears to be as to the reliability of both the driver and helper or helpers in every bus and how the children are going to be protected by such persons.
The High Court observed that though the school issue is one of the several in the context of the traffic congestion in this city, at least, if half the number of parents who use cars to ferry their children to and from school resort to the public mode of service as introduced by the government, traffic would have been substantially eased.
The State government however informed the High Court that even government employees are being requested to take special buses which will start and end at designated places, but there does not appear to be much response to such proposal.
During the hearing, a report was filed by the State government indicating some measures taken or proposed to be taken to ease the traffic congestion in and around the city.
According to the report, the work on the Shillong Western Bypass is due to start in the month of August. The State government also stated that the Western Bypass is proposed to be widened and better surfaced to ease traffic on the main arterial road.
However, the High Court said that this will take time as the matter has not got off the drawing board to the ground as yet.
The matter will come up at the next hearing on August 23. The High Court also asked the State government to file another report at the next hearing on the measures taken to deal with the traffic congestion.