Breaking laws they make ‘breakers’ in every nook and corner
DIMAPUR, JULY 27
THE image of notoriously bad roads with potholes, chaotic traffic and omnipresent garbage dumps, and added to that an unmarked, unwarned, unwanted and unspecific sized ‘speed bumps’ (speed breakers) which create a lot of hassles and danger to motorists reflects the true image of Dimapur, the commercial hub of Nagaland.
While speed bumps and speed breakers usage is technically only allowed in front of educational institutions, hospitals, churches/temples and some important places, they are found in abundance not only around the town but in nooks and corners of each and every colony.
Speed breaker, as per the Indian Road Congress (IRC), should be four inches high and one metre wide with 1.25 metres of slope on both sides. It is generally constructed on highways but that too has turned obsolete with a recent government notification banning construction of speed breakers along highways.
Whereas, a speed bump should be with central height between 10 to 12 cm, 3.5 metres width with parabola in shape and length same as road width.
In fact, what are being seen erected all over are speed bumps, which we generally refer to as speed breakers.
There are five speed bumps along the road from Zinyu Gas Service, Circular Road to Dimapur Mission Higher Secondary School (DMHSS) covering a stretch of about 100 metres, meaning one speed bump per 20 metres.
Altogether there are nine speed bumps at a stretch of around 500-600 metres along the road between Faith Hospital to Sewak Gate No. 4, near Kendriya Vidyalaya. All these bumps, located either near the gates of Sewak Camp or the approach roads from their camps, without any caution sign board or zebra sign.
In the case of Signal Army Road, one cannot make out whether the road is covered with more pot holes or black topping and on top of it speed bumps.
And, what about the hundreds of bumps on the roads to Nuiland, Pugobhuto, Shukovi, Sovima and any other villages/mini townships adjacent to Dimapur?
A local businessman who did not wish to be named said, “I have no comment on ‘breakers’ elsewhere. But you know we no longer call Nagarjan by that name any longer. Now it is Breaker-jan”.
“Indeed, it has become a ‘status symbol’ for every influential person to build one speed bump in front of his house,” he lamented.
“No brakes on ‘Dimapur breakers”, said Lucy, a working woman. She also stated that she has counted 42 speed bumps on her way to office which is a mere five-km run. “I have developed backache and I call them back-breakers. It adds to irritation as well,” she said.
Are these speed-breakers or spine-breakers? When this question was posed to a renowned Orthopaedic Surgeon (who did not wish to be quoted) had a hearty laugh and said driving daily through potholes is medically not recommended. “We can assume speed dumps and pot holes to be same – in both the cases we get jerked.”
Commuters passing through such roads are at high ricks to disc prolapsed, a condition when the spinal disc pops out of the vertebrae due to extensive damage caused by jerking, he said.
He also narrated an incident of a former public leader who suffered from a spine problem. Some years back while he was travelling along with his driver who crossed the speed bump without noticing it in full. The resultant violent jerk coupled with his spine problem led to paraplegia-impairment in motor or sensory function of the lower extremities. Now he is bed-ridden as his lower limps are functionless.
Opposing the uncontrolled numbers of speed bumps in his personal capacity, DSP (Traffic) Tulaka K Sumi said there are no Regulatory Acts/Guidelines issued to them in this matter by the higher authorities. Therefore, he expressed his inability to look after it. Sumi agreed that speed bumps obstruct the smooth flow of vehicular movement while also pointing out that “it is one of the contributing factors to traffic jam in some localities”.
When queried whether any ‘No Objection Certificate’ is required for erecting speed bumps, CEO, Dimapur Municipal Council, Tarep Imchen while expressing his ignorance about the matter said there are no such rules laid down under DMC. He also maintained that so far no one has approached them in this regard. “Of course, we will see to it (unlawful speed bumps) if complaints come to us from the general public,” Imchen said. He also agreed that is has become a ‘status symbol among the Nagas to have those ‘bumpers’ outside their residential gate.
The subject comes under PWD (R&B) and they are responsible for all construction of speed bumps after through study.
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When asked about the mushrooming numbers of these bumps, Er. Vizotuo Seletsu, PWD (R&B), said when the department staff go to a particular area for road carpeting, residents ask them to construct a speed bump in their area without even thinking of the inconvenience they cause to the commuters. If refused, some residents even threaten them saying the departmental will be solely responsible if accident occurs in that area, Er. Seletsu said. In some cases when contractors go to a particular area for road carpeting, residents construct speed dumps themselves after they leave, he added.
On being asked why there are no warnings on road humps for motorists – like mandatory yellow or white painted in a ‘V’ and illuminated by solar cat’s eyes (solar cells embedded on pavements/road that reflect sun rays and glow in the dark) to make them visible, Er. Seletsu feigned ignorance on the matter but assured to discuss it with his colleagues.
The authorities concerned may not have done meticulous planning to give residents a smooth ride, but they can at least put a curb on these ever growing ‘unauthorized and illegal breakers’ constructed on every road.