ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 36
Kandy Times

Short-sighted plan bane of bus commuters and schoolchildren

The new traffic scheme introduced in Kandy with effect from January 19, is causing much hardship to all those who travel by bus and to schoolchildren. As a result of this traffic arrangement, the entire stretch of the Peradeniya Road from Gatembe Junction right up to Kandy town is made one way moving towards Kandy and traffic along the new road, William Gopallawa Mawatha (constructed thanks to the foresight of the late President Premadasa) moves out of Kandy Town up to Gatembe Junction.

Between Gatembe Junction and Kandy Town (a stetch of 4 km) there are only two connecting roads both of which have to cross the rail tracks and one of them (at Suduhumpola) is covered with pot holes.

As buses now move only in one direction, the most affected by this ill-planned traffic arrangement are the poor bus commuters and schoolchildren. (I am personally aware of a parent who had to walk with his 7-year-old son from Anniwatte along Piachaud Gardens Road to the Peradeniya Road and then walk all the way to Kingswood College because buses do not ply towards Peradeniya).

It appears that the powers that be who decided on this traffic arrangement were only concerned about the free-flow of vehicles and were not bothered about the bus commuters, the school children and the residents along the Peradeniya Road and William Gopallawa Mawatha. Others badly affected are the trishaw drivers and the owners of shops along these two roads.

Another grave risk is that schoolchildren attending the schools along Peradeniya Road have to cross the rail tracks to get to William Gopallawa Mawatha.

Most people are at a loss as to how the Mayor and the Governor of the Central Province agreed to such a foolish traffic arrangement. The free flow of traffic both ways along these two roads should be re-permitted without further delay. The Traffic Police should enforce “no parking” along certain sections of Peradeniya Road between 7 a.m. and 8.30 a.m. and between 1.00 p.m. and 3.00 p.m. to minimize traffic congestion during the school rush hours. Citizens of Kandy, in particular the bus commuters, schoolchildren and their parents, hope that saner counsel will prevail soon.

About 500 protestors who were proceeding to the DIG’s office to explain the difficulties caused by this new traffic arrangement were threatened that they would be taken into custody under the emergency regulations.

The Police high-ups are trying to bully the people and force the new traffic plan down their throat. Thousands are suffering. We hope that the Mayor and the Governor will prevail upon the Police to give up this traffic arrangement without further delay.

By Nihal Jayalath

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.