Steps in place to curb accidents on Chardham route: Official

In a bid to curb mounting incidence of road accidents on the Chardham route, the state government has initiated a “slew of measures” ahead of the annual Chardham yatra (pilgrimage) that begins on April 18

dehradun Updated: Apr 08, 2018 21:42 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times
Annual Chardham yatra begins on April 18.(HT File)

In a bid to curb mounting incidence of road accidents on the Chardham route, the state government has initiated a “slew of measures” ahead of the annual Chardham yatra (pilgrimage) that begins on April 18.

“A series of steps have been taken to minimise the incidence of road accidents in the religious circuit and ensure that pilgrims face no traffic hassles during the Chardham yatra,” transport secretary D Senthil Pandian said.

“To ensure that those initiatives are properly implemented we have adopted a multi-pronged approach,” he said.

Elaborating, he said some of the regulations could be minimised to ensure an efficient movement of traffic during the annual yatra to the Chardham -- the four shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamnotri.

“We might, for instance, extend the period of permits issued to private bus operators who ferry pilgrims on the Chardham yatra route, from three years to five years,” Pandian said, adding the step would spare them the trouble of getting their permits frequently renewed in a short duration.

The timings of buses to be operated on the Chardham route would also be properly regulated and information in that connection would be circulated among pilgrims.

“Besides, buses will be parked on the immediate vicinity of railway stations in Rishikesh and Haridwar--the twin gateways to the Chardham,” Pandian said.

“The arrangement is being made so that pilgrims could easily catch the Chardham bound buses soon after de-boarding trains.”

It would also be ensured that other modes of transports like taxis “are also easily accessible” to pilgrims who will soon start visiting the Chardham from all corners of the country.

“Besides, measures are being initiated to ensure that proper parking space is available to pilgrims who would be arriving by buses and taxis or by their own vehicles,” Pandian said.

“I have already written to the commissioners of all neighbouring states urging them to provide us the estimated number of buses to be deployed to transport pilgrims.”

In that connection, the district magistrates in Garhwal division recently had a meeting with private bus operators.

Besides, a separate plan “is also being executed” by the district magistrates and the Superintendents of Police to curb the incidents of road accidents in the Chardham.

“In that connection, both short term and long term measures are being initiated,” Pandian said.

Under the short term measures, reflectors, traffic signages, speed breakers etc would be put up along roads in the yatra route. Long terms measures would include the engineering component.

As part of the long term measures, he added, black spots relating to roads criss-crossing the hill state including the mountainous Chardham yatra route and been identified. “In that connection, the data relating to the areas of hill roads where accidents have frequently been taking place in the past three years have been collected,” the official said, adding those areas had been termed as black spots.

“In all such black spots, corrective measures such as widening of regular bends in hill roads and erecting retaining walls are being taken, which would help check road accidents,” Pandian said.

Besides, a massive public awareness campaign had been initiated in all districts to sensitise drivers to the dangers of over speeding and drunken driving -- the two main reasons behind the high incidence of accidents in the hills.

“An app is also being developed, which will start providing the real-time data regarding the speed of vehicles once they would enter the hilly areas including the Chardham,” Pandian said.

“Properties of the app would be shared with media only after it would be ready for use,” he said.

First Published: Apr 08, 2018 21:42 IST