Rainy season woes continue: Shimla cut of from rest of world 4th time
Shimla, Aug 12
In a recurring and unfortunate pattern, Shimla, the capital town, finds itself isolated from the outside world once again due to adverse weather conditions. This marks the fourth occurrence of such isolation during this rainy season. The primary cause for this disruption is the closure of the Old Hindustan Tibet NH-5, now referred to as the Ambala-Shimla four-lane road, which has been shut down for vehicular traffic due to landslides.
Tough now reports are coming that the road has been reinstated again for LMVs, but the inconsistency of the situation has washed away the little hopes of any tourist arrival in capital city during independence day vacations from 12th to 15 August.
A press release issued by the government early today said that general public is informed that that Chandigarh Shimla Highway (NH 05) is closed due to landslide at Chakki Mor in Parwanoo area.
Seeking cooperation from people, the administeration said that NHAI is pressing heavy machinery to clear the debris from the highway which was in progress but people may have to wait one to two days before the NH opens for all types of vehicles.
Earlier last evening around 1935 hrs, Shoghi Shimla route of National Highway No.5 had been completely closed for traffic due to another landslide near Sonu Bangla between Taradevi to Shoghi. However landslide was cleared from highway till 0100 hrs now restored.
Noteworthy, it is not first occasion when NH-5 is closed and cut of for road communication from the state capital. Since August 2 it has remained unfit for plying traffic. It was only on August 9 and 10, the highway was opened for all vehicle. Also earlier, the highway remained off from July 10 to July 17.
Criticism is mounting towards both the Union and the previous BJP government, previously lauded for their role in constructing major four-lane highways such as Kiratpur-Manali and Kalka-Solan. The current situation, however, paints a different picture as the construction of these highways appears to have faltered under the weight of heavy rainfall, leading to disastrous consequences. The lack of proper attention and consideration for environmental and topographic factors has led to a severe backlash from the public. An FIR has been lodged against NHAI and a construction company, accusing them of compromising the state’s environment and geographical realities. However, there’s been no visible action taken on this matter so far.
Infact plight of these NHs is such that this morning a five year old lost life as a rock hit a vehicle on Manali Mandi NH.
Citizens are now ruing that the National Highway Authority which virtually accepted shortcomings in the Constitution of four lanes compromising road construction SOPs for hilly terrain couldn’t recommission this strategic and main highway of state.
During the weekend or five day holidays about 5000 hospitalty units were expecting minor increase in the footfall of tourist but due to this latest disruption in the vehicular traffic they may have to curse destiny again.
It is worthwhile to mention that state air, railway and road communication services are also affected due to rough and inclement weather conditions. Kalka Shimla 96 km heritage rail line which rarely affected in rough weather also had to be suspended due to landslide and falling of boulders on the track.
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Vishal Sarin, Editor