Shah in Shimla for BJP rally
Tourists coming to Shimla for their year-end break on Friday may find the hill station out of bounds as BJP president and home minister Amit Shah is scheduled to address a public rally on The Ridge to commemorate BJP’s second year in power with Jai Ram Thakur at the helm.
The converging of tens of thousands of party activists from across the state has left hoteliers worried as they are also expecting a heavy rush of tourists till New Year’s Eve.
On an average, approximately 20,000 tourists from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi reach Shimla and surrounding areas during the peak tourist season.
More than 15,000 tourists visited Shimla, Kufri and Narkanda to celebrate Christmas, say tourism officials.
“Usually, after Christmas, the footfall of tourists swells. The announcement of a public rally by the government has dashed our hopes of brisk business ahead of the peak tourist season,” said a local hotelier, requesting anonymity.
He said some reservations were cancelled after the announcement of the rally.
According to police, the tourists are also expected to encounter traffic bottlenecks on the route to the hill station with over 50,000 supporters heading there for the rally.
Shimla Deputy Commissioner Amit Kashyap said in light of the heavy traffic expected in Shimla due to celebratory function of completion of two years of the government on December 27, the residents and tourists are advised to avoid the use of Cart Road.
With the state government all set to celebrate the completion of its second year in power on The Ridge here on Friday, the Shimla police have laid out a traffic-management plan for the convenience of tourists and local residents.
Traffic congestion is expected between 9am to 11am as at least 3,000 vehicles and 250 buses are expected to enter Shimla and cause congestion. As many as 1,200 vehicles are expected to enter the town from Dhalli, which will affect the traffic.
Victory Tunnel to Boileauganj Road, through Chaura Maidan, will be closed for ordinary vehicles. The Cart Road will be available for people who will be visiting Summer Hill through Boileauganj. The Boileauganj to Hotel Peterhoff road will be restricted. Vehicles venturing into Annadale will be checked.
Superintendent of police (SP), Shimla, Omapati Jamwal said that for passengers coming from Bilaspur, the drop-off point will be the AG Office, between Winter Field and Victory Tunnel, under Winter Field, near the parking at the lift and Bemloi area before 9am and Tavi Mod, Tutikandi parking area and old barrier after 9am.
He said that a shuttle services will be provided between Tavi Mod and Tutikandi parking area. Buses will be parked on the Shimla Bypass Road and light vehicles will be parked in the Indian Institute Of Advanced Studies, Government High School, Chaura Maidan parking and Ava Lodge road. The return pick-up point will be the Tutikandi parking, he added.
The deputy commissioner said that for vehicles coming from upper Shimla, the drop off point will be the Chalonthi junction on the Sanjauli bypass for buses arriving before 9am and Dhalli bus stand after 9am. He said shuttle buses will be provided between Dhalli and Auckland tunnels after 9am.
He said the buses will be parked at the Apple Mandi at Bhattakuffar, the spillover on APMC Dhalli to Bhattakuffar National Highway. He said that light motor vehicles would be parked at APMC mandi. He said that to meet out further requirement, light motor vehicles parking would be provided at Dhalli-Sanjauli bypass road. Return pick point would be at Dhalli bus stand, he added.
He said that the passengers coming from Solan and Sirmaur side the drop off point would be AG Office, between Winter Field and Victory Tunnel, below Winter Field, near Lift parking and Bemloe area before 9 AM and Tuttikandi parking area and old barrier after 9 AM. He said that shuttle services would be provided from Tuttikandi parking area to Victory Tunnel, AG Office and Old ISBT. He said that buses will be parked on Shimla bypass road and light motor vehicles would be parked on Tuttikand parking station. The pick-up point on return will be Tuttikandi parking, he added.
Employees have been advised to reach office before 9:30am to avoid being stuck in jams. All the vehicles are expected to leave the town around 3pm after the end of the function. People have been advised to enter Shimla either before 2pm or after 6pm to avoid inconvenience.
Jamwal said “As many as 3,000 vehicles and 250 buses will be entering the town which is going to affect the traffic movement. Police personnel will be deployed throughout the town who will be assisting the people in reaching their destination on time.”
(With agency inputs)