Highway to remain shut during Kanwar yatra this year
The Uttar Pradesh authorities on Tuesday said they will try to divert as many as of 2.5 crore Kanwarias to the ‘Kanwar Marg’, which runs parallel to the Upper Ganga Canal (UGC) right up to Haridwar and “appeal” all pilgrims to use the route. However, there will be no relief for commuters as the National Highway 58 (NH-58) will be shutdown this year too.noida Updated: Jul 13, 2016 00:19 IST
The Uttar Pradesh authorities on Tuesday said they will try to divert as many as of 2.5 crore Kanwarias to the ‘Kanwar Marg’, which runs parallel to the Upper Ganga Canal (UGC) right up to Haridwar and “appeal” all pilgrims to use the route. However, there will be no relief for commuters as the National Highway 58 (NH-58) will be shutdown this year too.
During the upcoming kanwar yatra, only kanwars will be allowed to use NH-58, the route will remain out of bounds for commuters and residents of Ghaziabad.
In Ghaziabad, UP principal secretary (home) Debashish Panda and director general of police Javeed Ahmed held a meeting with senior police and administrative officials from Delhi, UP, Haryana and Uttarakhand to discuss traffic and other safety and security issues during the yatra.
“We will appeal to all Kanwarias to use the Kanwar marg as far as possible. For this purpose, we have also ordered road repairs, lighting and security over the route. We will also be allowing setting up of food stalls, camps on this route to attract maximum Kanwarias,” Ahmed said.
However, both officials were non committal about allowing Kanwarias to use only the alternative route and not the highway. They said this year too, the NH-58 will be shut for nearly 10 days. Traffic will be diverted through alternative routes. The issue of highway closure has been persistent for over a decade during the annual Kanwar yatra in July and August.
A senior official said that the highway will face closed for bigger vehicles from July 24 and all vehicles will be prohibited to ply on NH-58 from July 27 to August 3.
The 3.5-metre wide Kanwar Marg is long sought as an alternative route for Kanwarias as local and long distance commuters face major issues due to traffic diversions.
The kanwar marg is maintained by UP irrigation department and could serve as a service road for commuters to travel to Haridwar. Officials said that kanwar marg starts from Murad Nagar in Ghaziabad and runs parallel to the UGC up to Purkazi in Muzaffarnagar district. Further, it runs right up to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, the starting point of the return journey.
“The days of Kanwar procession affect daily lives of people in Ghaziabad. Industrialists suffer because of increased cost of transport. It is known to all that kanwar marg is an alternative route but there have been no sincere efforts to develop it so devotees can start using it and highway closure can be avoided,” said SK Maheshwari, an industrialist from Ghaziabad.
“As per information, the tenders for widening the kanwar marg have been floated and it is to be widened to 7 metres. The UP public works department is undertaking the project estimated at nearly `130 crore,” said SK Sharma, chief engineer (Ganga), Meerut.