Poll bound Shimla facing sudden surge in footfall
Vishal Sarin/ ML Verma
Shimla, Apr 30
In mid of Summer season, the Shimla city is facing sudden surge in the footfall of tourists, politician and host of other activities choking all the bottle necks by the huge convoys of SUVs and tourists cabs.
The State capital is in the last leg of Shimla Mincipal Corporation hit by huge convey of vehicles mostly of poltical parties and politician, north zones judicial officers Conference and weekend Tourist footfall.
The vibrant atmosphere in Shimla during the tourist season and the elections is undoubtedly exciting, but it is important to acknowledge the challenges that come with it.
A news going viral on social media that in past 12 hrs number of vehicles entered Shimla was 17000. Indeed the hustle and bustle in Shimla city as the elections and tourist season approaches may be a cause for celebration for some, but it could not be ignored that such activities also come with their own set of challenges.
Traffic police are on their toe from morning to late evening, clearing bottlenecks at Crossings by halting traffic at MLA quarter and Vidhansabha, Victory Tunnel and Old ISBT.
Also a two days North Zone Regional conference of judicial officers is being held at Peterhoff and police officer have to keep the VVIP lanes from Peterhoff upto high court and victory Tunnel to police line Kaithu at high alert to facilitate the traffic.
On the week ends town normally witnesses increase of vehicle (4000 to 5000 more), between Kalka-Shimla which creates choas of traffic during check in and out time. Moreover during school and office on and off hours the traffic on the small roads of Shimla usually cause major congestion and inconvenience for both locals and tourists.
Dedication of Boileauganj to Kenedy house specially for two ways traffic for new court complex has also increased the traffic problem at Vidhansabha which is major bottleneck .
The already narrow roads and lanes become even more difficult to navigate with the influx of vehicles, causing traffic jams and making it difficult for emergency vehicles to move around the city.
Thanks to inclement weather which gave respite from sweltering heatwave conditions in the northern India which curbed the traffic to great extent as thunderstroms and rain playing spoilsport.
On the weekends and coming summer vacation in the plains is going to give the traffic police sleepless nights and the town would remain choked for the next 2 months.
Furthermore, the sudden surge in the number of tourists can put a strain on the city’s resources, particularly its water supply.
Also read Christmas/New year tourist season traffic mgmt. in Shimla – Shuttle service from Tutikandi for visitors without hotel booking: DC Shimla
It is no secret that Shimla has been grappling with water scarcity for years now, and this problem is only exacerbated during the peak tourist season.
The hotels and guesthouses in the city consume large quantities of water, often at the expense of the locals, who have to deal with limited water supply during the summer months.
Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, and with the number of cases rising once again, it is essential that we remain cautious and vigilant.
While the tourism industry is an important source of revenue for Shimla, it is crucial that the safety and well-being of both tourists and locals are not compromised in the process. The authorities must take necessary measures to ensure that tourists adhere to COVID-19 protocols and do not flout rules. This can be done by increasing the number of checks and monitoring the crowded areas in the city.
Tourists should be encouraged to wear masks, maintain social distancing and follow other safety guidelines, and non-compliance should be met with strict penalties.
As the new MC would take over office coniciding with the tourist season, it is imperative that the government takes steps. The roads and lanes must be widened to accommodate the increased traffic, and public transportation options must be improved. The city also needs better waste management systems, as the garbage generated during the tourist season can be a major problem.
The authorities must take necessary steps to ensure that the city can handle the influx of tourists without compromising the safety and well-being of its residents.
Only then can Shimla truly realize its potential as a top tourist destination in India.