Weekend tourist rush, road repair brings Shimla to halt

10-06-2017
HT

Headed for Shimla? Leave your car behind.

That’s because the summer tourist rush to Himachal Pradesh is peaking over the weekend amid road repair, leading to long traffic jams in Shimla.

Shimla deputy superintendent of police, traffic, RS Negi says the number of vehicles in town has gone up with more tourists flocking the hill station in the past week. “Road maintenance is on and the tourist rush has added to the problem,” he says.

At least 120 policemen are on traffic duty in the town yet the traffic jam starts at the entrance to Shimla. A portion of the road has caved in near the Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT), leading to the jam from the ISBT bifurcation to Victory tunnel, a 3-km stretch.

PARKING PANGS

Shimla has four major parking lots but they are inadequate for the rush of tourist vehicles. “We spent two hours looking for a parking space. First the jam wasted our time and now this hunt for parking,” says Adarsh Trivedi, a tourist from Delhi.

However, Mashobra resident Ajit Kumar blames it all on the tourists. “The tourist rush has gone up in the past four days. That’s why we are facing traffic and parking problems.”

Tour planner Zampa Negi says the lack of parking space is a problem in all Himachal tourist towns of Mashobra, Kufri, and Narkanda. “It’s worse than Shimla there,” he says.

Another tour operator Nishant Bharota says tourists are so tired of traffic jams in Shimla that they want to visit less-crowded destinations such as Kinnaur. “Traffic snarls in the capital city have driven tourists to lesser-known destinations. The pressure is on those towns,” he says.

In Manali, the traffic congestion grew after taxi operators called off their agitation last week. The tourist rush has picked up as people escape the heat in the plains and head for snow-bound areas in the upper reaches. “Traffic jams welcome tourists in Manali and the administration has no solution to offer,” says Sandeep Singh, a resident of Manali.

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