An everyday scene at one of Dimapur’s greatest traffic bottlenecks— unofficially known as Tragopan point, where two national highways intersect, as seen on December 8. (Morung Photo)
Police personnel on duty monitoring vehicles with speed-guns. Dimapur Police Commisionerate has launched a ‘special enforcement’ drive by introducing speed-guns and a new cap on vehicular pace- 50 km/hour on the 4-lane and 30 km/hour within the city limits.
Morung Express News
Dimapur | December 9
The Dimapur-Chümoukedima 4-lane, while reducing travel time, has also become a great safety hazard since it was officially commissioned in December 2020. Accidents and fatalities in this 12.9km stretch have visibly increased, the prime causes of which have been attributed to over-speeding and rash driving.
The Dimapur Police Commisionerate has now launched a “special enforcement” drive by introducing speed-guns and a new cap on vehicular pace— 50 km/hour on the 4-lane and 30 km/hour within the city limits.
According to the Commissioner of Police (CP), Kevithuto Sophie, the traffic police have started checking and penalizing vehicles running afoul of the speed caps with 25 defaulters penalised already. The enforcement is set to continue throughout the festive month of December. Queried on wrong lane driving on the 4-lane, by drivers trying to make quick exits, he said that the police personnel are also on the lookout for such reckless behaviour.
While commendable, the initiative has not been without scepticism with residents expressing reservation on the practicality of the speed caps and the continuity of enforcement. A Dimapur resident, Arien Jamir, referencing the tendency of commuters to cruise on wide and level roads, remarked that the speed cap is rather pointless when “everyone is an 'uncaught' defaulter.”According to Jamir, seasonal enforcement does not make sense, while stating that other contributory factors to road accidents should also be considered. “It is absurd, if the checking is done only once in a while. Besides that, the cause of accidents is perhaps not necessarily due to the speed of vehicles alone, but the absence of good or no street lighting, poor parking rules. Speeding does not necessarily cause accidents,” he said, while adding that the rules seem to be absent altogether.
Parking & congestion
Another big headache has been congestion and parking or lack thereof in the main thoroughfares. The festive season has only compounded the festering situation, especially at the known bottlenecks—Nyamo Lotha Road, Old Overbridge junctions, Burma Camp-Walford intersection and the Clock Tower roundabout.
Narrow space along with a lack of civic etiquette and a burgeoning car population has been to blame for this. And there have been suggestions too, among which include the prospect of introducing parking tolls with car owners charged by the hour and designated parking spots away from the roads.
But it all boils down to enforcement by the authorities and discipline on the part of the citizenry, according to another resident. Wishing to remain anonymous, the resident said that turning enforcement from one-off, seasonal affairs to long-term initiatives would go a long way towards easing vehicular congestion and the parking woes. She added that as citizens of a shared urban space, the residents should start appreciating that rules exist for a reason. “You are only generating a domino effect (on the road) when you decide to park right outside the shop. It would not hurt our pride or status by parking someplace else and walking to the shop,” she said. She further pointed out a common practice of people parking their cars outside of the designated parking line, not only blocking traffic flow but also other cars parked already. “This is where enforcement should play its role,” she added.
For the festive season, the busy Nyamo Lotha Road has a make-shift parking space in the Christian Higher Secondary School compound, but she reminded that it is only for a month at most.
The Commissioner of Police was queried whether the Commissionerate has the requisite personnel for regulating the traffic surge during the festive season. He replied, “Can’t say there is short of personnel. The main thing is that we have to change our attitude. We are cultured in certain ways, but when it comes to (urban) civic sense, we are lacking.”