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Planning visit to hill towns in Uttarakhand? Don’t forget to pre-book your hotel

dehradun Updated: Dec 24, 2017 19:33 IST
Neha Pant
Neha Pant
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand News,hill towns,New Year

Vehicles from Uttarakhand and other states make a beeline to two hill stations - Nainital or Mussoorie - around the New Year time, leading to hours-long traffic jams and parking woes.(HT File Photo)

If you are planning a trip to Nainital or Mussoorie to ring in the New Year, don’t forget to pre-book your hotel room or else you may have to return even before reaching your destination.

Vehicles from Uttarakhand and other states make a beeline to the two hill stations around the New Year time, leading to hours-long traffic jams and parking woes. This time, the police and the local administration plan to regulate the number of tourists for avoiding traffic chaos in the festive season.

Nainital has a capacity to park around 2,000 cars while Mussoorie can accommodate around 1500 vehicles, but more than 10,000 vehicles reach the two hill towns for New Year celebrations.

“For Nainital, we will allow only those vehicles to proceed to the city who have pre-booked their hotel rooms and parking slots. For Mussoorie, we are yet to take a final decision (about regulating the entry of vehicles) and the focus will be on making the best utilisation of parking spaces available,” Kewal Khurana, deputy inspector general (DIG) of the traffic directorate, told Hindustan Times.

Notably, after the high court’s order in September, the Nainital administration launched a mobile app in October allowing visitors to pre-book parking space.

Efforts were being made to spread the message of tourist regulation through traffic directorate’s website and social media, Khurana said. “We will also be deploying 10 units of city patrol unit for monitoring traffic flow and checking drink driving in Mussoorie. Around 50 additional cops will man the two hill towns for regulating traffic movement.” A meeting would take place on December 25 to chalk out a final traffic plan for the New Year, he added.

Hoteliers rued that the decision had come too late. “While we agree with the administration that there’s a need to regulate (the number of tourists visiting these towns), these things should have been planned well in advance rather than at the last minute, which will only put tourists coming from different parts of the country to inconvenience,” Hotel and Restaurant Association of Uttarakhand president Sandeep Sahni said.

Nearly 30-40% of tourists make plans at the last minute and they add to walk-in clients for hotels, Sahni said. “Not everybody has a mindset to pre-book in advance. Last year, we had a situation where many people even with confirmed booking were denied entry to Mussoorie... I don’t see anything wrong in their intention but when it comes to implementation, it (tourist regulation) is done so shoddily that eventually tourists are the ones who end up suffering.”

Meanwhile, after protests from local hoteliers and businessmen, Nainital authorities said that vehicles will be stopped from coming into the Lake City only if the parking capacity in the town gets exhausted. Harish Chand Sati, additional superintendent of Nainital, said, “We have made appropriate arrangements for parking of tourist vehicles in the town and nearby areas. They vehicles will be stopped only if they exceed the parking limit.”

Nainital district magistrate Dipendra Chaudhary said that arrangements to accommodate tourists were being made, irrespective of pre-booking. “We hope that there will be enough space for all vehicles,” he said.

(With inputs from Kamal Jagati in Nainital)

First Published: Dec 24, 2017 19:33 IST