No Vehicle City

Naocha *

In the backdrop of recent development of general public awareness towards Anti-plastic and Zero Garbage campaign, sanitization of the city from the smoky vehicles could be the other face of the same coin of 'Go Green City'. Adulteration of the fuel by the black market conduit at various stages before finally reaches the last consumer, worsen the gravity of the poison produced by the air pollution and damaging the life of vehicles as well.

We are at the same time experiencing the dire consequences of such air pollution. As we all know about health hazardous and the lethal global warming agents produced from the smokes of the increasing numbers of vehicles plying through the heart of the city, checking of alarmingly increasing air pollution from vehicles is the need of the hour.

This positive step if implemented in pragmatic manner under the belly of strong political will with voluntary involvement of the general public would not only help in bringing back the losing ecological balance of nature but will also plug the hole in the pocket by giving more rest to the vehicles and curtailing medical expenses outsourced from air pollution.

Besides, manifold benefits will crop in by leaps and bounds once the city comes with tag of 'Go Green City' as other towns/cities and districts will follow the suit. This could be the stepping stone to turn the Imphal city into Eco-City.

It is high time for the Local Govt. to act so as to free the city from the vehicles both private and public except for emergency and essential services. Adopting Success formula of Local Govt. of Shimla and Manali, making some of their specified streets say 'Mall Road' totally free from all sorts of vehicle would be a welcome step.

At the first instance, on experimental basis, some small dose of initiatives which require immediate attention to free the city from vehicle and check air pollution are:
1. Making all streets of the Imphal city free from all vehicles selectively i.e. Thangal Bazar Road, Nagamapal Road, MG Road, Assembly Road, Erstwhile District Hospital Road, Aloo Gali Road, Paona Bazar Road, from Khuyathong in the North to Paona Bazar in the west.

2. Creation of 'Entry Stop' points of all vehicles at Khuyathong in the north, Manjor Khul, entry point of Gandhi Avenue Rd. and Assembly Road in the east side, and on the west side, entry point of Nagamapal road at Khuyaththong pukhri mapal (just beyond right turn street heading for polem leikai), Kangjabi Leirak, RIMS Road, Singjubung leirak and Uripok T point can be done.

In the case of Paona Bazar Road, entry point from Thangal Bazar Road in the North and entry point at Keishampat in the South and all vistas leading to Paona Bazar Road in the East and West by creation of 'Entry Stop' point from the road running behind Governor's Bungalow leading to Museum in the east. In the west, from Nupa Keithel Road at the bank of Nambul River opposite to Waheng Leikai in the East.

3. Provision of parking points at specified points mentioned above including both sides of Nagamapal road east of Khuyathong Pukhrimapal, the East and west side of Khuyathong Road towards lilasing Khongnangkhong and East and West side of Kangla Park Road upto GM Hall area, and all the periphery of Pologround uptill the end point at the back of old public Library which are well outside the ambit of the no vehicle zones. The parking points beyond the no vehicle zone should also accommodate space for passenger carrying vehicles like three wheeler auto rickshaws and Tata Magic like four wheelers for easy transportation of the general public.

4. As most of the parking points to be earmarked are Govt. owned area, management of parking of vehicles can be outsourced periodically on basis of performance to any private agency showing express of interest (EOI) governed by a vibrant framework in a win-win situation to create more jobs in the process for the jobless energetic and enthusiastic youths.

5. Synchronization of poorly run traffic management system can be done on priority basis by close monitoring of the peak hours of heavy traffic both in the morning and in the evening on some the key points heading towards office, school, college, markets, Banks, etc., so as to avoid traffic jam and easy flow of traffic.

6. Permitting public vehicles entry only after 8 PM to 8 AM. In no vehicle zone, entry of public/private vehicles should be treated as punishable offence and strictly prohibited during 8 AM to 8 PM. In this aspect, existing one way traffic system can be still continued.

7. Methodology of making ring roads and one way traffic system as followed in major cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, Bangalore needs to brought in. On trial basis, ring roads in the east from Kangla Park Road to either BT road heading towards Uripok and Waheng Leikai or Governor Rd connecting Keishampat Road and then to Waheng Lekai Road and Uripok Flyover point.

And to the West side, various inlet roads including RIMS Road straight down from the flyover at Uripok to Lamphel Supermark road, having various arterial roads connecting various Leikais and main roads. However, upgrading the standards some of these small but arterial roads is very essential for continuous and easy flow of traffic.

8. Like Nainital's 'Mall Road' wherein only man pulled Rickshaws are allowed on rotation basis for the convenience of the general public, the same methodology can be implemented at the city of Imphal with slight alteration in the system. To boost up the moral of the Rickshaw drivers/pullers and for the convenience of the general public, to begin with, at-least 25-30 rickshaws each may be stationed within the ambit of no vehicle zones at all the specified no vehicle entry points stated above.

These pollution free mode of transport are to be operated on rotation basis. However, any rickshaw roaming the specified streets without passengers should be strictly prohibited and treated as punishable offence to avoid traffic mess and for parity earning opportunity for all rickshaw pullers. After dropping the passenger to the desired destination, rickshaw has to moved to its nearest specified station point.

Also, wherever necessary the vendors should provide rickshaw pullers say Delivery Boy specially design only for transportation of consumer goods or for delivery of the goods to the customer/consumer. In regard to movement of rickshaw into the no vehicle zone from outside, existing one way traffic system can be continued.

9. Fixed Fare per passenger can be worked out on mutually acceptable rate proportionate to distance the passengers travelling and to avoid overcharge of fares by the Rickshaw pullers. At the same time all rickshaws to be introduced in no vehicle zone should be upgraded to 4 passenger carrying capacity design (2 in front and 2 back facing) in more secure and user friendly manner. Present model of rickshaw are very unsafe to the users because of its poor aerodynamic design and limited to 2 passengers carrying capacity only.

10. General public should voluntarily avoid vehicle for shopping in the city. Bi-cycle is one of the best pollution free friend. Alternatively, for better health, to become habitual pedestrian is a good option. Otherwise, one can reach the parking point easily with specially enforced service of rickshaw available at all specified 'No Entry' points.

11. Nevertheless to mention, the importance of the role of fourth estate including all vernacular papers, electronic media and dedicated advertising agents to bring complete awareness to the general public and Local Govt. formed by the general public to add life to the above parameters for a greener city. 12. Blending of above tenets with civil laws prevailing plus technical comments and views from various expertise can make the implementation of above programmes foolproof.

Picture Gallery from BG campaign:

* Naocha contributes to for the first time . The writer can be contacted at naocha(at)rediffmail(dot)com
This article was webcasted on October 09, 2010.

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