Addressing traffic congestion in Imphal: Shift commercial centres

Growth of population and rapid increase in number of vehicles coupled with little expansion of roads and bridges-these are the reasons for the growing traffic congestion in Imphal city. This was Chief Minister N Biren Singh at the Assembly on February 18 and to emphasise the ever increasing number of vehicles out on the roads of Imphal, the Chief Minister pointed out that while vehicles sale saw a slump across the country, it did not have any impact on Manipur and instead the State saw a growth of 25 percent in automobile sales. Points taken, for this is the truth and the rapid increase in the number of vehicles coupled with roads and bridges which cannot be correspondingly widened can be said to be one of the prime factors for the increasing traffic snarls that one sees on a daily basis in Imphal. Size of traffic roundels minimised and Naga rivulet converted into parking space by covering the top with slabs-these are some measures taken up by the Government to ease the flow of traffic, as spelt out by the Chief Minister. To further ease traffic congestions, the Chief Minister mentioned Imphal ring road, elevated highway connecting Koirengei and Canchipur and Bir Tikendrajit airport. Limit the routes of diesel autos coming from different directions at Kwakeithel, Singjamei, Lamlong, Kongba, Sangakpham and Iroishemba. Introduce bus service for intra-city transportation was another model mooted by the Chief Minister. Obvious that the Government is concerned with the traffic chaos that one sees on a daily basis on the roads of Imphal and if no corrective measures are taken up, things can only get worse.
Measures aimed at easing the traffic flow in Imphal and while the suggestions mooted sound positive, it would do good for all concerned to give some thought to parking facilities. Commercial and private vehicles continue to be parked at designated spots along Kanglapat road, hindering free flow of traffic. Same is the case within the other commercial centres of Imphal. Apart from working out the parking lots, it would do good for the Government to seriously study how the present site of the ISBT located along Dingko road can be shifted. Imphal must perhaps be the only State capital in the country where the ISBT is located right in the middle of the city. Apart from this, serious thoughts ought to be given on how to shift the commercial centres of Imphal. When everyone, from those shopping for needles to television sets, refrigerators, vegetables, fruits, school and college text books etc have to go to Paona Keithel, Thangal Keithel, BT Road, MG Avenue etc it is but natural that Imphal will continue to draw shoppers throughout the year. Moreover get the offices and schools located plum in the commercial centres moved to some other places. Designate some places, away from the commercial centres of Imphal to sell certain goods, say such as school text books, clothes, electronic goods etc. For example improve the market sheds in front of Shanker Talkies at Lamphel and naturally shoppers from Thangmeiband side need not go to Khwairamband to buy their vegetables. This is but just one example that comes to mind. Something needs to be done soon to ease the traffic congestion for if the situation is allowed to linger, Imphal may soon become one of the unplanned, dirty and unkempt bigger cities  that one finds in other parts of the country.