By S. Nadarajan
PONDICHERRY, JUNE 9. The phenomenal rise in the number of vehicles has led to increased traffic congestion and pollution in Pondicherry. Smoke emitted by vehicles is a serious health hazard to people, so much so that there have been suggestions to set up a separate unit to check vehicle pollution.
Officials say there has been a 20 per cent rise in the number of vehicles, with more than 2 lakh vehicles plying now in Pondicherry. Non-governmental organisations have been demanding that town bus services should be run linking important centres, in the absence of which citizens have to depend on their own vehicles.
Violations of the speed limit and non-compliance with rules have been causing many accidents. Indiscriminate use of air horns has also added to the noise pollution. Further, abnormally high speedbreakers are a risk to vehicle users, such as the one on Suffren Street, which is especially hazardous at night. The traffic snarls are worsened by town buses that halt and pick up passengers on the middle of the road.
Police say non-implementation of the spot fine system is one of the causes for the traffic chaos. The system was introduced in the past, but has been withdrawn because of political intervention.
Another problem causing concern to the police is the rise in the number of vehicle thefts. The Senior Superintendent of Police (Law and Order), Sunil Garg, went on record recently stating that during the last five months 140 vehicles had been reported stolen.
According to the police, youths are mainly to blame for vehicle thefts. They dispose of the vehicles at a very low price.
Police have urged owners of two-wheelers to use double locks and park the vehicles in the allotted areas to prevent thefts.
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