No green signal for traffic woes

There has been 75 per cent increase in the number of vehicles registered in Mangalore RTO in the last five years, writes Naina J A

The steady rise in number of vehicles and the inability of city roads to handle the ever increasing traffic are making life hard for commuters during peak hours.

There has been around 75 per cent increase in the number of vehicles in Mangalore in the past five years.

Even though there is a public outcry, at the hike in price of petroleum products, it has hardly affected the increase in number of new vehicles being registered in Mangalore. It looks as if the people are opting for a comfortable journey as there has been an increase of motor cars by 30 per cent. While 5,368 motorcars were registered in 2011, the number has increased to 6,979 this year. As many as 16,546 motorcycles were registered in 2011. However, the number has increased to 20,056 in 2012.

Likewise, auto rickshaws increased by 42 per cent in 2012 with 874 auto rickshaws registered in 2011 and 1,245 in 2012. Similarly, in case of stage carriage vehicles, 137 vehicles were registered in 2011 and the number of increased to 140 during the year. It was 112 in 2008.

Goods vehicles increased at the rate of 7 per cent as 1,372 vehicles were registered in 2011 and in 2012, as many as 1,480 such vehicles were registered. As many as 104 motor cabs were registered in 2008 which increased to 164 in 2011 and 196 in 2012. However, in the case of maxi cabs, there is a decrease of 8 per cent as against 190 maxi cabs being registered last year, the number came down to 174 in 2012.

Owing to increase in number of vehicles, there have been several occasions where confusion caused accidents resulting in traffic chaos. Hampankatta Circle is among the many junctions in the city where motorists as well as pedestrians have been facing problems.

It is said that about 90 vehicles approach every minute to the Hampankatta Circle, which is the junction of roads coming from Kankanady, K S Road Road, Town Hall and Balmatta. Regional Transport Officer Mallikarjuna said “Traffic congestion can be reduced only if the city has adequate parking space. Multi-level parking lots are essential to address parking problem in Mangalore city. “If town planners neglect this fact, there will be heavy traffic havoc in the future.”

However, few public feel: “Public transportation should be improved to attract people. Once people take to public transport, traffic congestion will ease.”

The Mangalore RTO office has been receiving 1,500 applications daily seeking driving license, learning license, new registration, transfer of ownership. However, with the shortage of staff, the RTO is finding it difficult to keep a track on the offenders such as overload of vehicles, overload of mini buses or autorickshaw carrying school children, harsh horns, use of harsh headlights on highway and so on. The RTO says “as the Regional Transport Office is facing shortage of staff, we could not concentrate on the use of harsh headlights.

However, we have fined several offenders whenever we found them violating the rules. When the media highlighted the issue of overloaded vehicles carrying labourers, we along with the police department has started checking the vehicles carrying labourers on alternative days at Jokatte, Surathkal areas. However, the moment they see the police and RTO staff inspecting the vehicles, they alight few labourers from a distance to avoid the fine.’

The number of sanctioned post in the RTO office is 97, of which, 75 posts have been filled. However, few have been transferred, making the situation worse. “As the State government has started the recruitment drive, we are hopeful of getting few staff in the near future,” says the RTO.

On noise pollution created by the vehicles, he says “the RTO has been organising awareness programme on noise pollution in the month of November. This year, we will make it a big programme. When the buses come for fitness certificate, they do not keep any harsh horns. However, they get it fitted after getting the fitness certificate from the RTO.”

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