The increased tourist influx in Shimla has brought along traffic snarls giving both the locals and tourists a harrowing time.
With the temperatures soaring in the plains and schools closed for summer vacation, hordes of tourists have been heading to the state capital for some respite. As a result, the narrow roads of the city have been chock-a-block with tourist vehicles and taxis, forcing residents to prefer walking to driving or taking a bus. The re-carpeting work on Circular Road has made matters worse.
Among the worst-affected points are Tauland, Victory Tunnel and Boileauganj. On Tuesday, Cart Road also witnessed a gridlock.
Besides, it now takes about an hour to reach Lakkar Bazaar from the barrier near Tutikandi, a five kilometre stretch. "It took me one hour to reach from the old bus stand to Chhota Shimla, a six kilometer stretch," said Balbir Singh, a resident of Tutikandi.
Even roads leading to Kufri and Narkanda, other popular tourist destinations, are hit. "We were told it will take 30 minutes to reach Kufri from Shimla. But we have already been stuck in traffic for 30 minutes here," said Jiten Shah, a tourist from Gandhinagar and Gujarat.
Even police seem to be mute spectators to the gridlocks bringing their traffic management plan to the knees.
"Around 10,000 vehicles enter Shimla daily during the peak tourist season, which leads to traffic snarls. The problem these days has been exacerbated due to re-carpeting work on at Circular Road," deputy superintendent of police (traffic) Dinesh Sharma said.
According to a Shimla Police survey, an estimated 85,000 vehicles ply on the city roads daily, while about 8,000 vehicles enter the town from other stations. A total of 120 traffic cops manage the traffic on various points.
A tour operator Rohit Sharma said he got many queries about the traffic situation in Shimla. "Tourists are aware about Shimla's traffic jams and often refuse to visit the city due to this," he added.