Saturday, December 3, 2022

Meghalaya HC says traffic problems in Shillong can be sorted out with experts

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The Meghalaya High Court has recently observed that there are several experts in the field and the State Government should endeavour to explore all avenues to ease the traffic problem in Shillong.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W. Diengdoh heard a PIL filed by one Philip Khrawbok Shati on the traffic congestion in Shillong, particularly around the central business district and Kachari area.

Several suggestions have been made on behalf of the appearing parties and it is hoped by the Court that the State considers the same.

One of the measures attempted to be put in place is to ensure more school buses, particularly for schools concentrated in the Laitumkrah area. However, a low level of response has been received. It may do well for a responsible official from the State meeting parents and the school authorities and persuading parents to avail of the bus upon allaying their apprehensions as to security and delay.

These visits have to be to each school. The State should also explore whether staggering the inflow and outflow of students in each school and staggering the timings of schools located in close proximity may ease the congestion in the locality, said the Court.

“The ultimate relief in easing the traffic situation in Shillong proper may only come upon alternative systems being put in place. Advocate-General reports that there is an expert recommendation for ropeways being constructed, including for regular use for commuting purposes rather than restricted only for tourism.”

The District Councils assured the High Court all cooperation and said that they need not indicate any independent stand, but will act in conjunction with the State for a collective response to be presented in Court.

Advocate-General reported that the construction of the western bypass and other proposed roads are going on. Some of these can actually be seen on the ground. It is also submitted on behalf of the State that more than 70 per cent of households in Shillong own at least one vehicle and considering the hilly terrain and the high number of vehicles, there is traffic congestion.

The court went on to observe that though the matter has been pending for a considerable period of time and new ideas are bandied each time, there have to be long-term and short-term plans on a more detailed basis than what has been presented thus far. Funds may be a problem, but there are national and international agencies that may be tapped and some kind of private-public partnership may also be explored for the purpose.

The Court has posted the matter on June 24 for further hearing.

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