Authorities pass buck over traffic light maintenance

Published On: June 28, 2016 09:16 AM NPT By: Sanskriti Acharya

KATHMANDU, June 27: At a time when the concerned government authorities have been criticized for failing to maintain traffic lights, Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has recently installed 20 Smart Traffic Island in different places of Kathmandu valley in collaboration with the Department of Roads (DoR) and the Metropolitan Traffic Police Department (MTPD).

The smart traffic island was installed at an estimated cost of Rs 1.2 million. 
Similarly, Kathmandu Sustainable Urban Transport Project (KSUTP) has planned to install 37 traffic lights in different 35 sites in Kathmandu valley at a cost of Rs 5 million. 
According to the Metropolitan Traffic Police Department (MTPD), there are traffic lights in different 36 places of Kathmandu valley but none of them are functional. As a result, the MTPD is forced to mobilize large number of traffic personnel to manage traffic movement manually.

The question is who is responsible to maintain the traffic lights once they are installed. 
“Department of Road (DoR) is responsible to manage and maintain the street and traffic lights," said Superintendent of Police (SP) Lokendra Malla, the MTPD spokesperson. “The sorry state of traffic lights is due to severe negligence by the DoR.”

He further said that around 1,200 traffic police officers are deployed daily to manage Kathmandu's traffic. The number can go down by 50 percent if the traffic lights are repaired and become functional, he said, adding that the MTPD could deploy traffic officers in other areas to make traffic system effective. It is sad that there are many traffic lights on the road that had gone out of order eight years ago.

The installation, according to the DoR, is aimed at controlling the traffic movement effectively by using automatic signals instead of using manual control system.
“The new traffic lights have different operating system than the old ones. It will be inter-linked with one another so if one traffic signal will get damage then others signal will also get affected,” said the Project Manager at the KSUTP Deepak Shrestha.

The responsibility of repairing the new traffic light is on the DoR's shoulder, he added. We hope DoR will not repeat same kind of negligence in the days to come.

Currently, Kathmandu traffic police are forced to follow the traditional method to control the traffic.

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