The raging controversy over permits for sealed and restricted roads in Shimla must be brought to an end by reducing such roads. The British colonial era culture to give preferential treatment to the elite class should be given a decent burial, stated Om Prakash Sood a resident of Shimla in a media. Recently after a follow-up over a directive issued by High court in 2015, vehicles without permit have been restricted from entering Sealed/ restricted roads (As per Shimla road user and pedestrian Act) of the city. Even parking on such roads has been prohibited by the court order leaving behind ruing citizens .
A couple of days after this directive noise of dissent became loud and the city lawyers even took up to an agitation, demanding access to such roads for work purpose. Joining their voice Shimla Nagrik Sabha stated that the action taken by Administration, police and Judiciary is unwarranted and one sided. They stated that if the authorities are really serious about conserving the heritage of Shimla city then these roads should be prohibited for all except residents. Vijender Mehra,a leader of the Sabha questioned that why should only the few elite be allowed on such roads whereby keeping away commoners from driving on these roads. He added that many building of public utility are located on these roads. State hospital IGMC, Municipal Corporation, Shimla Jal Prabandan Nigam, DC Office, SP Office, Kotshera college, Evening college, Kali Bari temple, All India radio, State Museum, Hotel Peterhoff, NCC, Deepak project, NSSO, National academy of audit and accounts, Accountant general office, numbers of hotels and commercial establishments are currently located on such Sealed/Restricted roads. “When the government has located all these public utility offices/ institutions on restricted/sealed roads, then the provision to reach these locations should also be provided, demanded the Nagrik sabha.
“Moreover, Shimla currently is reeling with traffic and parking issues,” added another citizen Atul Vohra. He said that some of the restricted roads should be de-notified, and light vehicles (Any without permit) should be allowed on them, he added. “The move could reduce some traffic from the circular road, and would help ease the situation by a bit,” he asserted.
To commute within Shimla city there is only one circular road. With the passage of time traffic has increased manifolds, but due to mountainous terrains, the width of the circular road remained the same. Becoming a big reason for creation of many traffic jam bottlenecks on this road, informed Anurag Sharma. Considering the fact there is no other alternative road to commute around the city, the government should speculate on opening some sealed/restricted routes for access to common public, he added.
“Shimla is one place on earth where to get to one’s own home or office, one needs a permit, this is even worse than Kashmir” stated a quote on social media about the situation here.
“The court with a very pious objective has issued directions to maintain the sanctity of these roads, stated a few senior citizens of the city. “However now it on the state government to act, keeping in view the growing demand for de-notifying some of the restricted/sealed roads of the city,” they suggested.