New Delhi. India still has a long way to go to catch China, according to a report by the Ministry of Transport. According to The World Class City: The Road to Gridlock, Delhi has experienced a recent upsurge of traffic chaos caused by the heavy monsoon rains, which have flooded roads, causing huge tail backs and cutting off large parts of the city. All excellent progress, but nowhere near the levels of congestion enjoyed in the People’s Republic.
“Traffic jams are an excellent indicator of development”, said Rakesh Sharma, a researcher on the report, “dusty Africa cities are relatively unclogged but world class cities like Paris, London and Los Angeles are frequently gridlocked. China’s growing congestion is testament to its rapid development”.
The recent 100km traffic jam near Beijing, which Chinese officials are granting its own area code as it lasted for around two weeks, is hailed as a triumph by the report: “Decades ago China relied on bicycles, trains and public transport, but now thanks to increasing car ownership, it is enjoying world class traffic jams which get media recognition in the US and Europe”.
The report calls on the Delhi Government to catch up with Beijing by further neglecting the bus system, cracking down on autos and cycle-rickshaws and generally ignoring potholes and drainage. “We are confident of achieving our own uniquely Indian 100km tailback by 2015”, said Sharma, “the Delhi Government has a lot of experience in bringing about such things”.
Strategically placed road-works are already playing a big role in jam creation, as are specially ordered traffic lights, designed to fail in the wet. “We are also using personnel lubrication methods”, explains Manoj Kumar, Head of Traffic Research at the Transport Department, “these have been particularly successful in increasing commuter times and stopping traffic flow”.
“Personnel lubrication” is a controversial technique (originating in Russia as an amusing game amongst policemen in Siberia) whereby traffic policemen tasked with directing traffic at intersections are required to gulp down five vodka shots before duty and a further five in a hipflask over the course of the following two hours.
The technique is said to be responsible for a jam in Omsk which lasted from April 1993 to August 2005, when the last stranded driver perished.
Indian corporate sector has also welcomed the report and has promised all possible support towards the endeavor. Tata Motors, which supplies low-floor green buses to DTC in Delhi, have promised to build more faulty buses that would randomly catch fire, thus creating chaos and bringing the traffic to halt.
“Furthermore, we have been accused by Greenpeace of being unkind to turtles, but to prove them wrong, we have decided that our buses will now run at the speed of a turtle but with none of the hard wearing qualities, which will also add to traffic jams.” a spokesperson of Tata Group informed.
But the common man in Delhi is hardly upbeat or worried over the prospects.
“They will miss the deadline again.” said Vivek, stuck in a traffic jam at Rajiv Chowk, still known as Connaught Place.