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Pune in the fast lane? No way!
Gaurav Thakur, Times News Network (26 Jul 2004)

PUNE, INDIA: The peak hour traffic in Pune is one of the slowest in India - anybody will tell you that. What this results in is economic and social loss. Because of the slow moving traffic, business meets get delayed and a number of times cancelled as well. Money is lost, profits diminish, people suffer, and all because the bus in front has taken ten minutes or more to move from the middle lane.

This has woken up authorities to ensuring a more logical flow of traffic. Karve Road, FC Road and Tilak Road are the worst offenders as traffic moves here at a speed of 15 to 20 kmph, according to the research by the C Parmar foundation. J M Road, Dr Ambedkar Road and RBM Road are marginally better with traffic moving at 25 to 30 kmph. (The average traffic speed should be around 40 kmph.)

Businessmen coming into the city are meanwhile horrified since payment to chauffeurs is rising by the hour. "We have to pay them in terms of number of hours driven. Because of the slow traffic here, the cost is spiraling," says N Shekhar, a businessman from Chennai.

There are various reasons for this situation. Firstly, a number of heavy vehicles pass through the city at an average speed of 10 kmph. "We are four-laning roads like the Pune-Sholapur highway. This way, unnecessary heavy vehicular traffic stops coming into the city," says N Jalkote, superintendent engineer, PWD. Secondly, because of inadequate parking facilities, most vehicles are parked on the roads, blocking everything. "Road widening work should be undertaken immediately," C Parmar adds. Another reason for traffic congestion is encroachment on footpaths. "But we have taken radical steps to stop this," Anant Shinde, DCP, traffic, tells PT. On a lighter note, he adds that "slow traffic is good for health since it reduces the number of accidents."

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