After the District Courts complex, no traffic police can be seen till Mattuthavani bus stand, writes L. Srikrishna

If there is one place that is busy throughout the day and night in Madurai, it is certainly Mattuthavani. Thousands of people use the integrated bus stand everyday and scores of buses and goods carriers such as lorries and vans pass through the Melur Road on which it is situated, besides the wholesale, flower, paddy and vegetable markets. But, unfortunately, there is not a single traffic policeman posted on a vast stretch of this road. Only on occasions when higher officials or dignitaries use this road police are deployed to ensure smooth traffic flow.

After the District Courts complex, no traffic police can be seen till Mattuthavani bus stand. Only near far away Madras High Court Bench one can see a traffic policeman, that too during office-hours. Between the bus stand and courts complex, four other roads — from KK Nagar, Industrial Estate, Lake View Road, and Surveyor Colony — pump traffic into the already busy road, leading to congestion at the intersections.

Private buses coming out of the Mattuthavani bus stand park in front of the restaurants opposite to it to take more passengers, causing hindrance to other vehicles. Adding to the chaos are the share autorickshaws that zoom in out of the traffic, scaring pedestrians and other motorists. Mini buses also do their bit by stopping at any place they wish between Mattuthavani and Meenakshi Mission Hospital to take in passengers.

At night, it is still worse. Omni buses line up opposite the bus stand while their agents look for passengers to Chennai. This leads to traffic bottleneck. Even emergency vehicles are caught in this traffic due to haphazard parking of these vehicles. Steady stream of people going and coming out of TASMAC-run liquor shop-cum-bars opposite the bus stand and roadside eateries compounds the problem at night.

The scene near flower market is no better. Share autorickshaws block the gate making access to it for vendors and customers difficult.

Absence of traffic police on this road leads to reckless driving and resultant accidents.

To bring about orderliness on this stretch, traffic police should be posted permanently in front of Mattuthavani bus stand and at the intersection leading to Surveyor Colony. Though there are a couple of policemen on duty at the check-post, they remain mute spectators even during traffic chaos.

The Corporation also must install more streetlights up to the bus stand. User-friendly speed breakers can be laid in front of the bus stand and the Industrial Estate intersection. Strict enforcement of road rules by the police and self-discipline by road users alone would ensure safe driving.

A police officer said that traffic police are posted near Mattuthavani bus stand for select hours only due to shortage of manpower in the traffic wing.

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