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Your traffic woes while on the way to Khadakwasla may end soon as police ban food stalls

Police have banned roadside food vendors on weekends to reduce traffic congestion

pune Updated: Jul 31, 2018 17:37 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
Traffic,Pune,Khadkwasla
A file picture of a clogged road near the Khadkwasla backwaters during monsoon.(Pramod Bhosale )

Sinhagad fort and Khadkwasala dam have always been one of the most popular weekend getaways for residents during the monsoon. However, in the last couple of years, the Sinhagad ghat is being closed by forest officials because of massive landslides during heavy downpour. And now, the police department has decided to curb traffic jams in Khadkwasala by closing down roadside food stalls on weekends.

According to Ashok Shelke, police inspector, the rural police department have appointed 30-40 officials to Sinhagad and Khadakwasla areas to control the traffic flow.

The road in Khadkwasla is narrow and picnickers often park their vehicle on one side of the road. With food vendors encroaching the other side, the road becomes extremely narrow. On weekends, due to heavy traffic, the road remains clogged and therefore, the police have decided to ban food vendors, and parking in the dam’s backwater area (popularly known as Khadkwasala choupati), on weekends.

“We understand the traffic issue, but selling food is our bread and butter. A couple of years back, the officials threatened us of closing down the street as the picknickers were littering near the backwater. So, we started requesting customers to put empty tea cups, corn silks, and empty plates, in designated dustbins. Now, the officials are once again blaming us for clogging roads. It’s not our fault that the picknickers are not disciplined,” said Sangeeta Chavan, who has been selling sweet corns and tea for several years with her son at Khadakwasla backwaters .

However, residents have welcomed the decision.

“Last Sunday evening, I went with my four-year-old son to enjoy the monsoon at Khadakwasla and it was the worst decision. I was stuck in traffic for almost three hours in the traffic. The roads had become slippery and two-wheelers were trying to squeeze in from everywhere. It was a nightmare. If the administration has closed roadside stalls and taken action against illegal parking, it’s definitely a good decision. Now we can enjoy the nature,” said Padmaja Joshi.

Sinhagad ghat might reopen next week

Though the passage to Khadakwasla is currently restricted, the forest department has said that the Sinhagad ghat will most probably be reopened next week.

“We have cleared the debris from the earlier landslides. The road is now clear, but we are taking precautions. On Monday, few members of Sinhagad joint forest management committee inspected the road and they will submit their report tomorrow. Then, we will take a decision, but it will most probably open next week ,” said MP Bhavsar, assistant conservator of forest.

First Published: Jul 31, 2018 17:36 IST