Friday, May 20, 2011

Rising Vehicular Population, Pollution and Traffic Problems at Hyderabad.

The topmost chart shows the rate at which the population of vehicles is increasing in Hyderabad. The next chart shows the unsafe pollution levels at few important junctions of the city. The inconvenience due to increased figures in both the charts which are interrelated can be seen on most roads of the city. There is heavy traffic everywhere and worst during peak hours. There is no lane system, one cannot cruise smoothly and at some places you come to a grinding halt or you are driving at a speed of few inches a minute. At some crossroads where there are no traffic signals and no policemen; it is free flow for all, leading to traffic jams which may take hours to clear. The air, dust and noise pollution due to the vehicles may not be felt from Air-conditioned cars but for the rest of the traffic and policemen it is obvious from the irritation to the eyes, a feeling of choking, nauseating smell and the irritation due to blaring horns and the chorus of engine noise. The situation on the roads is annoying, we do not know how long it will take to reach our destination even if it is just two or three kilometers away. Driving is no longer a pleasure.
The Government agencies are totally at fault for this scenario. Roads are being widened and flyovers constructed and at the same time several multi-storied residential and commercial buildings, cinema halls and shopping malls are permitted to be constructed in these already busy areas giving rise to traffic congestion. The sides of widened roads are occupied by eateries and miscellaneous vendors and nothing is being done about it. Vehicles stop at these eateries and shops; blocking free flow of traffic. Most drivers, in a hurry to reach their destination drive like insane people, instead of keeping to the left of the road and behind a vehicle they drive in a zig-zag manner, over take cars, other cars overtake them and very soon you will find cars in five or six rows totally blocking the traffic coming in the opposite direction. Very little is being done to punish or correct such drivers. Discipline in driving would sort out some of the congestion problems.
It is said that the Hyderabad Metropolitan Area (HMA) is spread over 1950 sq.kms. with a population of 75 Lakhs and a floating population of over 5 Lakhs. And the Central Core area of the City is just 250 sq. kms. and it houses 60% of the HMA population and all the major Government Offices, huge Shopping areas, Bank Head Offices, Restaurants, popular Schools and Colleges, Cinema Theatres, Corporate Hospitals and three major Railway Stations. Obviously this main area of the city is congested; it has heavy traffic related problems and pollution. An effort has to be made to relocate many of these establishments and large new projects away from the problem areas as it was done in the case of Begumpet Airport.   
The Twin Cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad does not have an effective, reliable and attractive Public Transport System. Since the time of Nizam till 2003 the city depended on State run buses and two Suburban Railway routes from Secunderabad Railway Station to Bolarum and Secunderabad Rly. Stn. to Falaknuma. Those who do not travel on own vehicles and do not rely on overcrowded Govt. Buses encouraged the growth of Autorickshaws and Seven-seater Tempos which are parked haphazardly and driven recklessly creating traffic chaos. In August 2003, MMTS: Multi-Modal Transport System (Local Trains) was introduced between Secunderabad-Falaknuma, Secunderabad-Lingampalli and Hyderabad-Lingampalli. This was a great introduction and users of MMTS are very happy with this service. There after only the number of buses in the city have increased, further choking the roads. Much needs to be done to ease the traffic congestion.
To help commuters and ease traffic on roads “The Hyderabad Metro Rail Project” was approved in April 2008, some survey works have been taken up but actual construction work has not yet commenced. At least a few routes are expected to be completed by 2015. The Metro Rail Project also called as MRTS-Mass Rapid Transit System is an elevated Metro Rail System for 71.6 kms. consisting of three high density traffic corridors, that is 1) Miyapur to LB Nagar, 2) Jubilee Bus Stand,Secunderabad to Falknuma and 3) Nagole to Shilparamam. Hope this project would be completed as per schedule and would ease the traffic woes.
As of now people who can afford Drivers for their vehicles are lucky; they can relax as the driver negotiates all the problems of driving and parking on congested roads. Unfortunately, I can’t afford a Driver.
I curse a lot as I drive; this I must stop in the hope that the Government, the City Planners and the Police would soon and somehow bring an end to the traffic problems.

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