Gangtok, Jan 11 (IPR)
Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) chaired a meeting at the conference hall of New Tashiling Secretariat today in regards to the existing traffic management issues in the capital Gangtok and the possible remedies.
The meeting was attended by Cabinet Ministers, Chief Secretary, Director General of Police, Heads and representatives of the concerned departments and government agencies, and members and representatives of the state civil societies and the Chamber of Commerce.
The primary aim of the meeting was to discuss and deliberate upon the traffic problem plaguing the state capital and the various solutions being considered towards solving this public menace.
Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, while addressing the meeting, reiterated the commitment of the State government towards solving the rising problem of road congestion in the State capital and stated that unless bold and concrete measures are initiated, this problem will continue to remain unsolved. He took note of all the possible solutions that are being considered and explored by the concerned departments and government agencies and said that any project that is solution-oriented should be immediately worked upon. He communicated that the problems being faced by the general public is being taken up as a top priority by the State government and stringent measures are being considered and will be formulated soon to bring relief to the common citizens.
The Chief Minister took note of all the possible alternate routes that are being proposed towards decongesting the roads in the capital and also suggested the opting of one-way routes for the traffic in the state capital. He also directed the stakeholder departments and agencies to carry out public sensitisation drives and drills before implementing major changes regards the vehicular movement in the capital. He suggested the relocation of certain taxi stands and government services outside of the main town and took note of the feedback received from the officials and stakeholders in this regard.
The Chief Minister also proposed the creation of tourist entry permit systems from the districts and sub-divisions so that public visits to the state capital can be brought down, thereby decreasing the congestion on the roads as well. Further, he pitched the idea of a carpooling system for all government officials during peak tourist seasons so as to lessen the vehicular burden on the roads. In conclusion, he suggested setting up of a committee immediately that would work towards solving the crisis of traffic congestion in the State capital.
Chief Secretary, S.C. Gupta, while addressing the meeting, stressed on change in habits, infrastructural development, and proper traffic management as the possible interventions for mitigation of traffic congestion in the State capital. He advised motivating parents of school children to shift from individualised vehicle system to sending their children in school buses. Keeping in view of certain schools as peak traffic points, he further suggested creating a system whereby parents who are sending their children to school on private vehicles are levied a parking fee collected by police authority for the temporary period of alighting on a monthly basis.
The Chief Secretary also suggested shifting the timing of garbage collection by GMC trucks to late evening to ease traffic woe in the capital. He further said that developing Ranka as a sub-city would also help in mitigating traffic issues with the relocation of general services stores in the said area. He outlined the importance of infrastructure development and traffic management for a paradigm shift in public convenience.
Stakeholder departments like the Urban Development & Housing Department, Rural Development Department, State Traffic Police Division, Transport Department and Roads and Bridges Department presented Power Points on their research and findings on the traffic congestion in the capital and the possible solutions and suggestions to ease it. Solutions like introduction of cable car systems, tunnel transport system, providing more road space, relocation of public services, shifting towards mandatory usage of school buses for students, making walking convenient for the public, reliable and universally accessible and friendly transport systems were discussed and deliberated upon at the meeting.
The Chief Minister took precise note of the solutions that were offered by the stakeholder departments and agencies and directed for extensive follow up to be done on these so that an immediate solution can be implemented to solve the woes of commuters. Members and representations of the state civil society and the Chamber of Commerce that included retired bureaucrats, engineers, social workers and businessmen also briefed the meeting on their personal findings and offered suggestions that could be taken up by the state government to tackle the traffic crisis in the State capital. They also expressed that the commitment and resolve of the state government towards the welfare of the Sikkimese is evident through the invitation to the members of the civil society to actively participate in the process of state building