t is winter in Kashmir. Most of the days are cloudy and daylight is restricted to a few hours. So
for the few hours when the temperature is not oppressive every soul on the roads is in a rush
for the daily chores of domestic life and to reach their places of work on time. There is one
reason for the maddening rush-lack of evening public transport in the summer capital Srinagar
city. While the masons, carpenters, car mechanics and other blue collared jobs people have
long sorted out this problem by riding on bicycles in harsh winters from the outskirts of the city,
the people not able enough to ride bicycles and other means of private transport are the worst
When the clock strikes 6 p.m. it is dark and the public transport just disappears. People
are seeing on various junctions pleading to car owners for a lift. Some people keep flashlight
torches ready in their pockets for the arduous walk back home. Amidst all this pandemonium,
stray auto rickshaw owners cash in by charging any amount of their choice. Pertinent to
mention that the traffic policemen are off the roads even before the public transport is.
The people who suffer because of the absence of the evening public transport are the
undisguised commoners of the middle and lower middle class section. The government, it
appears, cares little to cater to the transportation needs of this huge segment of population.
One reason why the middle class section is being forced to buy their hatchback cars is the
absence of a full-fledged public transport in Kashmir. More the people buy cars of their own,
more the air pollution and more the accidents and traffic jams.
The government needs to take the issue of ensuring there is evening transport on the roads
seriously. The route permits of all bus and Tata Sumo owners who fail to operate during the
dusk hours needs to be cancelled temporarily to teach them a lesson. The traffic department
needs to have some active Flying squads vehicles to ensure that nobody is stranded on the
roads of Srinagar and ensure a post evening busses on every route connecting central Srinagar
to its southern, Northern and the Eastern zones.