July 9, 2011, Patna: Traffic increase in Patna during the last few years has made it horrible for vehicle drivers as well as pedestrians to negotiate the city roads.
"Only a few years ago, I would go for a leisurely drive from Boring Road to Maurya Lok whenever I felt the need to unwind myself; today such a drive adds to my stress," laments Vishal, a CA by profession.
Take this: The number of vehicles has increased by 280% on the city roads in three years. To be more precise, the number of vehicles in the city went up from 1.75 lakh to 2.93 lakh by October 2009; to 4.29 lakh by March 2010; to 5.11 lakh by January 2011, according to traffic police sources. "We have seen a 110% increase in demand during the last five years," said the sales manager of an automobile dealer in the city.
"At any given time, about 1.83 lakh vehicles enter and exit the city and a large number of these constitute the traffic on the dilapidated Gandhi Setu alone," according to a study done by IIT-Delhi.
While the horse-carts are history, there has also been a decline in the use of personalized, non-mechanized transport, especially bicycles. These constitute less than 11% of the vehicles today, down from 30% in 1994.
Mechanized scooty is a common sight these days. "Not many scooties were in demand till few years ago," a mobike dealer's sales manager said and added women, young and old alike, are now buying scooties apparently because they no longer feel unsafe to commute on their own, thanks to improved law and order.
"The city's traffic is fast becoming a health hazard with breathing and blood pressure complaints pouring in more frequently," said Dr Jaishree Singh. A PU professor added: Patna is one of the most polluted cities of our country.
The situation is likely to worsen in the next two to three months with several commercial complexes scheduled to open in the city's densely-populated areas where there is no space for parking.
Patna, the second largest city after Kolkata in eastern India, has been growing so fast that the World Bank has ranked it second after Delhi among the growing cities of the country. But not many Patnaites feel proud of this fast growth.