MUSSOORIE, June 10
The mad weekend rush of tourists once again exposed the poor infrastructure and inadequate traffic arrangements that have become synonymous with the hill town of Mussoorie that is demanding smart city solutions to end its woes.
This weekend was no different for tourists as it brought misery and pain to fore once again with more than five kms traffic jam being witnessed for continuous two days namely Saturday and Sunday.
The closure of schools in plains of North India, summer vacations in courts and the weekend holidays all added up to the rise in number of tourists heading for Mussoorie.
However, the tourists who were on their way to Mussoorie to enjoy and relax in salubrious and cool clime were in for shock when they were caught in more than 5 km traffic jam that was witnessed intermittently right from Kolhukhet to Mussoorie. The Gandhi Chowk was worst hit as the vehicles going ahead to Yamnotri. The vehicles from Mall road exiting the barrier and the tourists heading for Kempty Fall created a chaotic situation resulting in the snail’s pace vehicular movement. The haphazard parking by the revellers on various road and inadequate parking slots that were loaded full to their capacity left no choice for the tourists but to park at the sides of the road wherever they got the space.
The children of tourists were at receiving end as they found difficult to withstand the chaotic traffic situation without water or bottle of milk.
“We are stranded from past two hours waiting for the jam situation to subside, with no drinking water and food said Namita a tourist from Delhi. The incomplete parking site at Kingcraig also resulted in slowing the vehicular movement. The parking facility is being constructed from past couple of years but is showing no sign of completion despite Commisioner level inspection. The contractors due to various anomalies have changed hand on two or more occasions but still there is no progress being witnessed said Dalbeer Singh. Ramandeep Singh Batra from Chandigarh said they were planning to go to Shimla but due to the reports of water crisis they changed their mind at last minute and headed for Mussoorie, but to their disgust found no relief due to the traffic jam situation.
With the mad rush the fleecing at the parking lots and the hotels was norm of the day as most parking managers charged from Rs 200 to Rs 600 for providing a parking space said one tourist. The hotels and guest houses also raised their tariff seeing the mad rush to the town. Wrong parking of vehicles on the roads also caused unnecessary roadblocks, leading to minor scuffles between the tourists here.
The police with limited resources tried to salvage the situation but found it difficult to manage the traffic as most of the parking lots were full. The vehicles heading towards Kempty falls and Dehradun were being diverted towards the Cart Mackenzie road from Gajji Bend via Harnam Singh Road to ease the pain of the tourists. We all doing all we can but the six to seven bottlenecks in the town result into slowing the pace of the traffic said Mussoorie Police station Incharge Bhavna Kainthola.
The residents of the town were also irked at the traffic jam situation and said that the time has come to enforce limited tourism concept in Mussoorie like the lines of Bhutan.
Anuj another resident said that the MDDA should give permission to the hotels to construct parking’s in their premises so that the tourists can directly park their vehicles in the hotels and wander in search of parking space. Manav Kochar, hotelier from the town said that this town definitely needs Signal System to regulate the traffic that could solve the traffic movement problem to large extent. He said that smart solution needed to be implemented using the digital technology so that tourist do not have to wait at the barriers at Kholukhet and Mall road thus resulting in free flow of traffic. He further said that since the rooms of the homes have been converted into rooms to be given out in let the traffic problem has aggravated this also needs to be investigated.
Another resident Sameer said that the time has come to enforce limited tourist keeping the carrying capacity of the town in mind. If limited tourism is enforced then the concept of season will give way to year-round inflow of tourists in accordance with the room available. A digital display sign could be placed at Dehradun or an App can be developed which can inform the tourists about the number of rooms available in town. This would help in stopping the people without booking from coming to Mussoorie thus not adding to traffic woes in the town said Avinash.
The smart city concept which was mooted by local residents and hotel association has been pro actively taken up by MLA Mussoorie Ganesh Joshi. It is hoped that the smart city concept will eradicate such problems but how will it plan out for the town that till date does not have a master plan yet remains a big question?