Shillong: The Meghalaya High Court has directed the state government to draw plans for easing traffic congestion in Shillong.

Hearing a PIL, a bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W Diengdoh said on Thursday that several suggestions have been given by the petitioners and it hopes that the state government considers those.

“Though the matter has been pending for a considerable period of time and new ideas are bandied each time, there have to be long-term and short-term plans on a more detailed basis than what has been presented thus far,” the court said.

“Funds may be a problem, but there are national and international agencies that may be tapped and some kind of private-public partnership may also be explored for the purpose,” it added.

One of the measures is to ensure more school buses, particularly for the schools concentrated in the Laitumkrah area, it said, adding that, however, a low level of response has been received to the proposal.

It may do well for an official of the state government to persuade parents to avail the school buses for their children, allaying their apprehensions as to security and delay, the court said.

The court also asked the state government to explore whether staggering the inflow and outflow of students in each school and staggering their timings may ease the congestion.

The ultimate relief in easing the traffic situation in Shillong may only come if alternative systems are put in place, the court said.

During the hearing, the advocate general said that there is a recommendation by experts for the construction of ropeways for regular commuting, rather than restricted only for tourism.

The advocate general also said that construction of the Western Bypass and other roads are underway.

According to the state government, more than 70 per cent of households in Shillong own at least one vehicle. The hilly terrain coupled with the high number of vehicles leads to traffic congestion.

The matter will be heard next on June 24.

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