Norway shows the way

Going by the matter appearing in print of the land’s dailies of all hues and also the regular telecast in various television channels during news time, one is prompted to infer that the nation’s people at large never had it so good. The list of pro-people measures introduced by both the Central Government and the State Governments, including Karnataka’s, such as Ayushman Bharat, Jan Dhan Yojna, cooking gas for free, loan waiver for the farming fraternity, Pradhan Mantri Aawaas Yojna and what have you, seems to be getting longer as days pass. Keeping aside media reports of crime in a dramatically rising graph across the country, Mysuru not excluded, one may permit oneself the freedom of turning attention to the plight of residents in urban spaces against the backdrop of steeply increasing difficulty in commuting by motorised transport between their residences and workplace as well as shopping complexes. Many roads in Mysuru, particularly in its central business district, have become out-of-bounds for motorists even as many established shops of the city on these roads have lost their business and are moving away to other less congested parts of the city.

Increasing the area of any city, such as Mysuru, to form layouts with residential and other sites for the benefit of the incoming settlers has resulted in exorbitant price of land and vertical growth of the city. One may extrapolate the ongoing rate of this change in the city’s profile and experience the shock of how the scenario of reality and residents looks like ahead.

Even as city-based motorists area all at sea to find place for parking their personal vehicles and fuel price is racing to reach 100 rupees a litre, there are no signs of reduction in the scale of production of automobiles in the country or the number of car as well as two-wheeler showrooms in the cities. Not much is reported on what the authorities of city administration are doing in other countries facing the same situation. However, Oslo, the capital city of Norway, founded in 1040 AD and hosting about seven lakh residents, including 1,20,000 workforce, seems to show the way for other cities to emulate. The city’s administration has eliminated 700 parking spots, turned streets (used earlier by motorists) into walkways, raised the levy for causing congestion, apart from eliminating most private cars. The only cars to be seen are taxis, vehicles for the handicapped and a few lost and confused motorists, according to a report in a section of the press.

Both the problem of congestion caused by the roads hosting motorised vehicles to the point of choking and the solution as done in Oslo merit a debate among both stakeholders and stockholders in Mysuru so that the city doesn’t end up like the State capital before long.

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