Friday, March 31, 2023

Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court takes strong action against traffic problems in Lucknow

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The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has taken a strict stand regarding the problem of traffic jams in Lucknow. The court gave strict orders to the High Level Traffic Committee formed in the year 2017 to study this problem and make a plan and then steps should be taken to overcome the problem.

A Single Bench of Justice Alok Mathur passed this order while hearing a Contempt Application filed by Sanjay Kumar Verma.

The Court noted that,

In pursuance to the previous order of the Court dated 09.05.2022, an affidavit of compliance has been filed by D.K Thakur, Commissioner of Police, Lucknow, U.P. In the said affidavit it has been stated that a sufficient number of officers and subordinate staff has been deputed at various crossings including Polytechnic Crossing and Shaheed Path Crossing for management of traffic.

It has further been stated in the affidavit that in past six months, 116 vehicles were seized and 4714 vehicles were challaned by Police Station Chinhat for violating traffic rules by drivers around Polytechnic intersection and before High Court, similarly 80 vehicles were seized by Police Station Vibhuti Khand, Lucknow and 6985 vehicles were challenged and 12 vehicles were seized by Police Station – B.B.D and 3050 vehicles were challaned, 52 vehicles were seized and 1472 vehicles were challaned by Police Station – Gazipur and 02 vehicles were seized and 321 vehicles were challaned by Police Station Indiranagar. First information report was also lodged against the persons operating and managing illegal autos/taxis/bus stops.

It has also been stated in the aforesaid affidavit that U.P.S.R.T.C buses are parked on the road to pick and drop passengers due to which the traffic jam occurs. Traffic Police has challaned 464 UPSRTC buses from 01.11.2021 to 31.04.2022. With regard to allegations made by the applicant with regard to e-rickshaws it has been stated in the affidavit that they are contributing immensely to the traffic and after analyzing the situation an order has been passed on 12.05.2022, whereby movement of e-rickshaw has been prohibited on main roads. Further specific directions have been given to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Lucknow to ensure smooth movement of traffic.

The Court further noted that,

The affidavit filed by the Police Commissioner, Lucknow in fact supports the allegations levelled in the contempt petition wherein it has been stated that traffic movement around High Court and more specifically on the Polytechnic intersection, Shaheed Path intersection and Kamta intersection has become very difficult to navigate. Considering that number of vehicles plying on the roads have increased in geometric progression and also that commercial vehicles including tempoo, rickshaws and buses are being parked on the roads and intersections, leaving very little room for movement of traffic, due to which traffic jams are frequent and even the movement of traffic has become slow. The public in general is being inconvenienced and also the school going children have to wait in the scorching heat of the sun for long hours in traffic jams. The authorities have to wake up from slumber and address the issues relating to “traffic management” expeditiously and effectively and it should be evident from the ground situation that the flow of traffic has improved.

It is noticed that some orders have been passed on 12.05.2022 for regularisation of e-rickshaws, which this Court hopes and trusts that the same shall be implemented effectively to overcome traffic congestion on roads.

In the affidavit filed by the Commissioner of Police, Lucknow it has also been stated that by means of order dated 08.07.2017, a Committee was constituted comprising (i) Home Department, Government of U.P, (ii) Public Works Department, (iii) National Highway Authority of India, (iv) Lucknow Development Authority, (v) Nagar Nigam, (vi) Urban Planning and Development, Nagar Vikas and (vii) U.P.S.R.T.C etc and the last meeting of the said committee took place on 01.11.2019.

The Court stated that, in order to tackle the traffic in the city of Lucknow and to take remedial measures, let the said “Traffic Committee” meet within next four weeks. The purpose of the “Traffic Committee” would be firstly to apprise itself about the traffic problem and the causes which have contributed towards the same. Secondly, they should examine an adequate number of proposals received from various specified agencies including Lucknow Development Authority as well as any such agency which may assist the said Committee in drawing out a master plan for finding solution to the traffic problem in the city of Lucknow. The said Committee should also consider the fact that even though roads have been widened over the period of time but the traffic congestion problem has aggravated instead of easing, because most of the intersections and the roads close to the intersections are constantly occupied by the commercial vehicles waiting to pick up or alight passengers. It should be ensured that adequate parking space is provided for the commercial vehicles and no stopping of such vehicles should be permitted on and near the main roads or near the aforesaid intersections, which can lead to a situation of traffic jam.

Ratnesh Chandra, counsel appearing for the LDA has produced before the Court a study conducted by the Lucknow Development Authority and also that remedial measures have also been provided in the said document which is titled “Junctions Identified for Improvement”. a copy of the said document is taken on record. He has assured the Court that another copy shall be placed before the Committee – Traffic Committee constituted by the Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Government of U.P for their consideration.

It is expected that the said Traffic Committee shall meet within next four weeks and draw a plan for easing traffic and also monitor the situation and it shall also file an affidavit by the next date of listing including the steps taken by them in this regard, the Court said.

Counsel for the applicant has further informed the Court that with regard to traffic congestion which is occurring due to plying of heavy commercial vehicles could be tackled expeditiously in case the outer ring road project is completed at the earliest.

It has been informed by the counsel for the opposite parties that work for completion of the said outer ring road project is underway and Mohit Jauhari will inform the Court on the next date of listing about the progress being made with regard to constructions of the outer ring road and also time period within which the said work is expected to be completed and the said road may be operational.

“Ratnesh Chandra, counsel appearing for the U.P.S.R.T.C shall inform the Court on the next date of listing about the action taken against the vehicles running either directly by the U.P.S.R.T.C, Lucknow City Transport Services Ltd or under their aegis, who have been challaned for violating traffic rules, and what action is taken against the drivers and conductors who allow passengers to alight and deboard from the buses in the middle of the road, exposing them to serious potential harm of being run over by the speedy vehicles”, the order reads.

The Court has fixed the next hearing of the petition on July 14, 2022.

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