Manipur Traffic : A game of fast and furious

Ashwini Sunil
Traffic in Manipur is nothing less than a game to get to the finish line before the rest. Roads in the state are not yet up to the mark and large portions of roads in certain areas aren't fully developed. This doesn't seem to curb the increase in the number of vehicles that traverse on these paths.
Over the years there has been a tremendous increase in the amount of tourism generated by the state and this further leads to rise in the number of motor vehicles as well as an overall increase in the number of accidents on roads. Roads in Manipur are rather narrow for the amount of traffic they take on. Share-auto drivers are always in a hurry to get their passengers to their destination on time and while doing so tend to ignore lot of traffic rules and drive their vehicles in a rather rash and dangerous manner.
The traffic controllers, men and women, alike are still unable to control the traffic chaos and are often called names and shouted at for doing their job. The instructions given by these controllers to the vehicles are often ignored and with many driving straight past them.
Manipur does not follow many traffic rules and people seem to drive reverse on a one way road or even cut to another road from the wrong side. The drivers of these vehicles at times drive too close to the other vehicles and take sudden turns in the middle of the road causing commotion to the people coming behind.
Another one reason of concern is the amount of noise pollution created by the people. People are always in a hurry to get to their places that the only solution for them to get traffic moving is to honk as loud and as long as possible. The honking carries on like a domino effect with each incoming car honking to get his/ her way. This can also lead to a lot of stress amongst the drivers to drive rashly and move out of the way of the vehicle coming behind.
In a way driving in Manipur has made the drivers alert of vehicles coming from any direction or changing lanes at any time to avoid an accident.
Speaking to a daily share auto-driver on the above mentioned concern he claims " I have been driving on these roads for a long time and is now used to the hustle and bustle of the traffic and am no longer scared to drive on these roads". Public transport drivers have adapted their ways to drive according to their whims and get their passengers dropped off at a speedy rate.
Drivers often do not stop for the pedestrians to cross the road and the pedestrians are always trying to make a dash past these vehicles to get to the other side. This could be very dangerous as a small miscalculation can lead to some very serious accidents.
The only solution to bring down these problems is to improve the conditions of the road by building wider roads and implementing better traffic rules and road management that are strictly imposed and followed by the public. People need to be receptive to this change to reduce the number of road accidents and scale down the traffic chaos.
The writer can be reached at [email protected]