Nagpur: The sprawling Second Capital City of Nagpur or Orange City as it is fondly called by its citizens is regarded as the most peaceful city in entire country. The city never reports communal riots or any other major strife even if other parts of the country are burning. But the scenario has now changed. Nagpur City is no longer a peaceful city. Not that any riot or strife or violence is being reported.
Now-a-days, the serene and peaceful atmosphere has been shattered by harsh and shrill noise of horn honking and irritating sound of zooming vehicles that have catapulted in thousands in number in the recent years. Forget the main roads and main markets the all kinds of vehicles are shattering the peace in almost every lane and by-lane of this rapidly growing city. The number of private vehicles from scooters to motorcycles to cars to vans to trucks to other heavy vehicles has increased in monstrous proportions.
The problem is not limited to horn honking only. The problem ranges from poor condition of roads and transport infrastructure to handle with the colossal spurt in vehicles especially the personal ones, lack of public transportation systems, massive encroachments on roads, lack of pedestrian facilities and dismal traffic management systems.
Nagpur City runs an organized chaos and there’s no better place than the road to see that chaos in action. Nobody thinks twice before honking horns outside someone’s home or office or hospital or any other public place. The earsplitting horns at a point causes emotional distress and other psychic problems. A violation ‘no horn’ provision is treated as a non-criminal traffic offence and essentially punishable by the payment of a fine. But this provision is only papers and signboards. Nagpurians honk like nobody’s business. Honking is more than just a habit on crowded streets.
The lasting solution to this mammoth problem can be independent traffic and transportation authorities at city level comprising technically strong in gadgets, technology and trained manpower & experts. The population in Nagpur is increasing by day and night but the good road network remains the same, old and weary, turning the situation unimaginable. Less said about public transportation system is better. The public transportation is usually neglected or do not provide regular and reliable quality of services forcing citizens rely on the private vehicles that have grown exorbitantly. This massive growth leads to extreme congestion, increase in pollution, accidents and add to general deterioration of quality of life.
In recent years, Nagpur is witnessing, with horror, serpentine traffic not only on main roads or at market places but in lanes and by-lanes which once were spared of such cacophony. No household is at peace at any given time. The irritating sound of zooming vehicles and equally irritating sound of horns have made the life miserable for many. The flaring, fancy and whimsical horns now-a-days in vogue have added trauma. The drivers of zooming vehicles enjoy shattering of night peace by honking the fancy but shrill horns in the lanes and by-lanes of residential areas at the cost of citizens. Media reports had said that the words “Horn OK Please” written on the rear side of almost all trucks, autos and other commercial vehicles across the have been banned in Maharashtra but the ban is not in force is evident. The ban is ostensibly aimed at curbing noise pollution. But absence of common sense has made mockery of the ban.
The agonizing and deafening sound caused by erratic horns honked by zooming and even halted vehicles increase the noise pollution. Noise disturbance could harm the activity or balance of human life. High noise levels can contribute to cardiovascular effects and contribute to permanent hearing loss. Air pollution caused by lakhs of vehicles in Nagpur is another horror story. The number of all kinds of vehicles in the Second Capital City of Nagpur could be in the range of 4-5 lakh with more than 1.50 lakh vehicles older than 15 years.
The bottom line is: Nagpur is no more a peaceful city. The harsh horn honking and noise of zooming vehicles robbed the this beautiful and historic city of its proud place, in a different way.
… Anil Rotkar