SHILLONG: The High Court of Meghalaya has lashed out at the state government for its perceived lack of action in addressing the worsening issue of traffic congestion in Shillong. In a scathing remark, the court attributed the problem to a “lack of political will and leadership” on the part of the state.
During the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) related to the traffic congestion on Wednesday, the bench, consisting of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Wanlura Diengdoh, expressed deep concern about the alarming situation and the state’s apparent reluctance to tackle the problem effectively.
The court’s dissatisfaction was evident as it directed the state government to take immediate measures to prevent encroachments on road spaces and footpaths. It stressed the importance of ensuring that roads are solely used by vehicles and footpaths by pedestrians. Encroachers were urged to be relocated to alleviate the congestion issue.
Over the past year, the court noted that numerous meetings had been held, reports submitted, and suggestions made, but the situation on the ground had shown no improvement. Instead, traffic woes had intensified day by day.
The court’s observation shed light on the severe impact of traffic congestion on daily life in Shillong. It highlighted that residents and travellers often need to allocate over an hour merely to navigate the city’s traffic when heading to Umroi or Guwahati for flights.
Afternoons witness standstill traffic, especially when schools conclude their sessions, with some relief occurring later in the day, only for the problem to resurface by 5 pm.
Back in July, the High Court had raised alarms regarding the escalating traffic congestion in Shillong and its surrounding areas, expressing doubt about an imminent solution to the issue.
In response, the government had informed the High Court that it had encouraged government employees to utilize designated special buses for commuting, with set departure and arrival points. However, it seemed that this proposal had garnered little interest or response from the public.