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J&K vehicle population reaches 24 lakh

Srinagar June 10: Jammu and Kashmir has added 17 lakh vehicles over the last 15 years and the number has reached around 24 lakh. .
In 2008, there were approximately 7 lakh vehicles, and their number has since reached around 24 lakh, indicating an over 300 percent increase in traffic over the last 15 years.
“Road density has increased by only 40 percent in the last 10 years, but roads are facing a heavy rush of vehicles,” a senior government official said.
Several roads have not been widened over the years.
The Zero Bridge at Rajbagh is a critical route as it’s a gateway to the heart of the city, Lal Chowk. A study of this road found virtually no difference between peak and non-peak hours since rush hour is a round-the-clock phenomenon.
The situation is worsened by roadside vendors and hawkers at Hari Singh High Street, Lal Chowk, who not only occupy the road but also lead to huge traffic snarls.
The Natipora junction, an arterial road that merges traffic from two sides, is a perennial nightmare for commuters.
The situation is similar in other parts of the valley. The Boulevard widening project was approved by the government in 2009. Despite this, the project is yet to be executed.
“Due to the ill planning of the government, there is a lot of overcrowding and congestion in the town as illegal constructions, including shops, continue to thrive with the tacit support of the municipal council authorities,” lamented Rafiq Ahmad, a resident of Shopian.
Traffic Department officials said that the increase in the number of challans implies that the department is collecting more revenue for the government. “The more the Traffic Department issues challans to traffic violators, the more revenue is generated for the government. There have been strict instructions to the department to impose fines on everyone who violates traffic rules. Thousands of vehicles have also been seized over the years,” an official of the Traffic Department said.
Additionally, roads in Kashmir have thousands of blind spots or curves. Vehicle collisions, skidding, and rollovers are frequently reported, for which the people have to pay the price.
A Junior Engineer at the Roads and Buildings (R&B) department said there are multiple reasons for road accidents.
He said, “First, it’s wasteful to have roads that don’t have adequate and unobstructed footpaths. Unfortunately, a majority of the roads in Srinagar city fall into this category. Either there is no space for people to walk on or the space is just symbolic.”

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