Peace on the roads: An open letter to Nitin Gadkari

This is an Open Letter to our Road and Transport Minister, Shri Nitin Gadkari ji.

There is one very important aspect of our daily lives in India, which I think no one is paying attention to in a serious way. This is regarding the traffic situation in the country, and the loss of life, inconvenience, and the overall chaos that it brings into the lives of a common Indian everyday of his/her life, no matter the rich or the poor.

It is also one of the prime causes of noise pollution in the country, and specially the constant honking in India, due to lack of following of rules has made life very stressed and discomforting in the country. There are places in India where this is even making people sleep deprived.

We are going to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, as reported here. This is all good, but I don’t think that just increasing some fines, and making some superficial changes will solve this problem. The problem is huge, and it needs a national movement of it’s own, if India needs to move towards a developed country status. I would suggest a brief suggestion, which should discussed in depth by experts.

1. We should start with some select cities to make big changes in how traffic moves in them.
2. We should frame proper road rules, and paint our roads with proper lanes and road signage.
3. This should be augmented with speed cameras, red light cameras in use all over the world in many countries.
4. Designated parking spots, and roadside parking spots, with very low parking rates, say Rs.1 for an hour should be set up. Parking tickets be sold via automated machines, common in many countries.
5. The unauthorized parkings, should be just fined and bills sent directly against vehicle number, and to be payable via an online portal. Anyone owning a vehicle in today’s India knows how to navigate Internet. Non payment could have consequences.
6. Along with the above, we should start with a social movement, and training, spreading the word in these select cities on the changes coming. Teach the people the rules and importance of following them, and consequences of not doing it, as we know that most people in our country have not gone through any formal procedure to get a licence(which also tells us a lot about the rot in our RTOs).

Once we successfully do this in the selected cities, say the capitals in each state for example, we can then proceed to take this change to the whole country gradually. The challenge is big, but we have to start somewhere to bring change. We can’t just go on, that this is India – it is chaotic like this.

A well wishing Indian.

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