M A I N   N E W S

Red, yellow, green: It’s a right turn in Srinagar
Majid Jahangir
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, April 14
Stop, look, and go, seems to be the new mantra on the busy roads of Srinagar. When five traffic signals were made functional in Srinagar almost a week ago, the traffic police department didn’t expect wonders. But now those manning the traffic in the summer capital claim that a large number of residents were following these signals.

“I must say 90 per cent of motorists are following the traffic signals,” says Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Traffic, Shafqat Watali.

The DIG felt that more awareness is required on traffic norms. “Apart from people, we need to educate our men too,” opines Watali. The five traffic signals have been put up at the Tourist Reception Centre Crossing, Jehangir Chowk, Sangarmal Junction on MA Road, Exhibition Crossing, Karannager Crossing and at Dalgate Chowk. Initially, the lights triggered traffic chaos as awestruck pedestrians and motorists used to stop and look at the timer devices. But the scenario improved gradually.

Plans are now afoot to install 31 more traffic lights in Srinagar city in the next one month.

The commuters say these signals have improved the traffic scenario. “There is a definite improvement. The only sore point is the Karannager Crossing,” said Ishan, a college-goer.

For now, policemen managing the lights are not harsh on those found jumping the signal. “In the coming days, we have decided to deploy senior police officers at these signals to educate motorists,” says the DIG. “Once our awareness drive gets over, we will start penalising the offenders,” says another officer.

Traffic lights were first installed in Srinagar in 1970, but soon became defunct. There was no immediate need felt for installing the lights again. In the 90s, the focus shifted on combating militancy and managing traffic wasn’t a priority.

“After militancy broke out in the Valley, there was no time to think about minor issues. Now, with peace returning, the focus is back on building infrastructure and increasing amenities,” said a senior police official.

“We are seeing the traffic lights in Kashmir after almost 40 years. We expect that these will bring order on the roads,” said Mohammad Akber, a retired forest official. 





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