Govt wakes up to traffic jams on Chardham routedehradun Updated: Jun 13, 2017 20:14 IST
State agriculture minister Subodh Uniyal (second from left), along with other BJP MLAs, comes out of the House on Tuesday.(Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT)
The Uttarakhand government on Tuesday announced both short- and long-term measures would be introduced for easing traffic congestion on the busy Chardham route.
To an adjournment motion moved by the Congress in the assembly, urban development minister Madan Kaushik said same measures would be introduced in all tourists places receiving heavy flow of vehicles during the summer. “Traffic congestion is a major problem inconveniencing lakhs of pilgrims annually visiting the Chardham in the summer. We will soon introduce both short- and long term measures on the yatra route to ease traffic bottlenecks.”
Congress MLA Qazi Mohammad Nizamuddin began the debate, saying traffic congestion has become a major problem on the Chardham route. “Name any urban centre on that route, be it Haridwar, Rishkesh or Roorkee, traffic congestion has become a huge problem inconveniencing both the pilgrims and local commuters.”
No different was the case with other hill stations including Mussoorie and Nainital, he said. “Traffic congestion has become a major problem in big cities like Dehradun, Haldwani and Ramnagar that are gateways to most hill stations.” Tourists visiting Musoorie “never have a hassle-free journey” owing to the traffic congestion that sometime stretches to eight hours, he added.
Despite traffic congestions, he said, pilgrims might again visit the Chardham owing to religious beliefs. “But there is no guarantee that tourists who faced recurring traffic congestions will ever visit again. They will prefer to visit tourist attractions in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh or other Himalayan states.”
Nizammuddin warned the government that tourists would stop visiting Uttarakhand if some long-term measures were not initiated to end traffic congestion.
Kaushik conceded that traffic congestion both on the Chardham route and elsewhere were a serious problem. Giving details of government plans, the minister said the recently launched all-weather Chardham road project and the Rishikesh-Karnaprayag rail project were part of the long-term measures to ease traffic congestion.
He took a swipe at the opposition, saying the previous Congress government had no long-term plans for the Chardham route. “Some 15 lakh pilgrims have visited the Chardhams within two months after the yatra season began on April 27. That number was recorded in the entire yatra season last year.”
Under the long-term measures, networks of ring roads would be set up around major cities and tourist towns to ease the recurring traffic congestions, he said. “Union minister Nitin Gadkari has already approved the project.” For short-term measures, more traffic police were deployed in urban areas and tourist places.