Morung Express News
Dimapur | January 5
The implementation of a new speed limit of 40 kilometres per hour within Dimapur town area up to Chümoukedima has provoked a mixed reaction among citizens.
The Commissioner of Police, Dimapur on January 4 notified that the new vehicular speed limit would be in effect from January 5 to February 3. However, for some citizens, the new speed limit is ‘too slow’.
As soon as the speed limit was notified, citizens took to social media to air their views.
“Too slow, it will create more jams instead... At least for highways 60k/hr would have been better,” Anung Walling wrote on Facebook.
Some drivers were also unsettled over the additional drive time.
Jesse Daniel commented “I thought the concept of good roads and a decent four lane was to save time taken for travel. How is it that a national highway is even hypothetically supposed to have a max speed limit of 40kms an hour?”
Some others chose to differ.
Welcoming the move, Daniel Longkumer opined that the move “is all for public safety,” and said that pedestrians and drivers should get acquainted with the new four lane.
“I think it is a good move for our own safety,” he added.
Akho Shupao commented “Many lives will be saved with this order. Kudos to the police department for imposing the speed limit.”
Though the maximum speed limit notified by the Centre is 100 kmph on national highways for cars and 120 kmph on expressways, as per the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, the State Government or any authority authorised by it may fix speed limits as it deems fit, either generally or in a particular area.
This is why speed limits on certain portions of national highways differ from state to state.
‘Slower is safer’
Dimapur Police meanwhile, acknowledged the ‘unusual’ speed limit for a highway. However, it clarified that the speed limit has been set keeping highway location and public safety in mind.
Speaking to The Morung Express, Dimapur Police PRO said, “We understand that the speed limit on highways is above 40kmph. However, the highway area here is not in a secluded area so keeping that in mind, the speed limit has been set at 40kmph,” the PRO stated.
The highway stretch from Purana Bazar to Chümoukedima is a built-up area and multiple minor roads are also directly connected to the main highway.
The justification for the low speed limit was also based on a history of accidents in the area.
It may be mentioned that there had been a surge in accident cases along the highway, which prompted the Dimapur Police to initiate a drive against unsafe driving. Since December 16, a total of 40 cars have been penalized for driving on the wrong lane, as per the PRO.
With the new speed limit in place, penalty for over speeding along the highway can also be anticipated in the coming days.
Questions on implementation
Meanwhile, some citizens were skeptical about the implementation of the rule. “Will police chase those exceeding 40kmph?” questioned Avika Chishi.
Questions were also raised on whether the rule would apply to VIPs as well. “Is it only for the common men or the same yard stick is also applied to the so called VIPs,” Kenneth Aye commented.
The Dimapur Police PRO informed this newspaper that in the coming days, mechanisms like use of speed guns would be used for monitoring the speed limit on the highway.
Speed limits on roads are usually set based on the volume of traffic, congestion, number of past incidents, etc, and are updated at specified intervals.
While the speed limit in Dimapur, as per the notification, will be in force for a month, Dimapur Police did not specify whether the 40kph speed limit would stay the same or be revised after February 3.
With some citizens confused about the logic behind such a low speed limit on a highway, the need for public cooperation was also highlighted by some. According to Instagram user Naro Akum, “…Infrastructural development with no cooperation from the public produce disastrous results. This is for the safety of all” Akum reminded.
For Ariba who drives a commercial passenger vehicle, the new speed limit raises a concern of more fuel consumption. However he also added, “As compared to my experience in other highways like in Guwahati and Shillong, our people here are yet to get accustomed to a four lane highway. This may be a good move to inculcate proper driving practices.”