Thursday, April 2, 2015

What Ails Delhi - Part 1

A senior executive of a top IT company was killed after his car rammed into an iron-rod laden truck near the Delhi suburb of Noida recently. The victim, Amit Srivastava, was working with the Human Resource department in HCL Technologies. The Hyundai i-10 that he was driving hit a truck from behind. The impact of the collision was such that an iron rod in the truck impaled Mr Srivastava's body, killing him on the spot. Police say, the truck driver absconded after the accident.

Now this happened when Supreme Court had not intervened and banned such killer contraptions on the road. Since then such incidents have come down. Barring a few isolated sights the highways have been cleared of this menace.

Trucks are probably gone have we done anything for other modes of transportation. For example a bullock cart laden dangerously with all sorts of goods are having a field day. Probably no traffic provisions are applicable to them. Delhi, the national capital has plenty of such vehicles carrying iron rods protruding out threatening rest of the road users. Probably those managing order are at loss under which section should they be booked. Let me tell them if nothing then they can be booked under culpable homicide not amounting to murder. But manpower starved police is looking at other things. They will wake up when someone dies in such incident. 

People traveling on roads are prone to all sorts of accidents and primary reason is that we as a country have failed to anticipate the traffic and its impact. We have failed to live up to the reality on the road. Nor can most road users guess what type of vehicle they will face at next corner. Delhi alone has 48 different "modes of transport" including cows, elephants and camels, as well as cycle-rickshaws and SUVs.

Has any policeman ever thought about the real culprit before charging any violation? When was the last time we discussed about respecting the natural flow of vehicles? We do not design traffic management systems to separate different streams of traffic. If and when we do have a traffic management /segregation system in place, will people stick to it?

On many 4 lane roads we have, there are bus tracks and cycle tracks. But, do bus walahs or the cyclists stick to it? Worse, with all the litter / construction waste/ boulders lying on the road edges.

And till we do it all other solutions will be short sighted and stop gap arrangements.

(More to follow...)