Shimla-As the harvesting season for apple crops begun this year, the National Highway -5, especially upto Bhattakufar fruit market went into chaos in terms of traffic management. Shanan-Dhalli-Bhattakuffar-Charabara-Kufri patch is the worst hit as the majority of the crop is transported to fruit markets from the upper region of Shimla district. The number of trucks, tippers, pick-ups etc. is higher owing to the season. The journey which used to take minutes is now taking hours.
To make things worse, on Friday night, a patch of NH-5 near Theog Market caved in. The road became narrow, allowing one-way traffic at a time.
Social media is flooded with pictures of traffic jams posted by the people, mostly the daily commuters. Amid this chaos, Shimla Police is being blamed for mismanagement.
However, Shimla Police has expressed its helplessness by sighting some reasons that, it said, do not fall under its jurisdiction. It said a large number of jawans have been deployed but there are a number of factors due to which it is difficult to fix the traffic trouble.
The first reason it gave is that the volume of apple crop is double this season as compared to the previous year. Therefore, more vehicles are plying for transportation of apples to markets.
Secondly, it said, previously heavy vehicles used to ply through Parala-Sainj road to Solan, making it possible to avoid entering Shimla city. However, the police said, this year, Himachal Pradesh Public Works Department declared a bridge on this route unsafe for vehicles heavier than 10 tons. Now, these heavy vehicles are plying through Shimla city, the police said.
Third, it said, daily two to three trucks break down on
roads, causing traffic jams.
The public has been complaining that commission agents have set stall on roadsides, which is another reason for traffic congestion.
The police has replied that the fruit market in Bhattakufar does not have parking space for these vehicles transporting crops, therefore, a large number of vehicles wait on the road for their turn to unload.
The police also explained that lack of parking space at the market is not its business, and there is nothing that it can do to fix it.
The only solution that the district police could provide is a piece of advice – leave early from homes to reach your respective destinations on time.
Further, the police has asked the people to give their suggestions that could help reducing traffic congestion. As a response, most of the people suggested that the timing for plying of heavy transportation vehicles should be fixed and entry in the city should not be allowed during peak hours.
Others suggested that the fruit market should be shifted outside the city to a place where there is ample space to accommodate vehicles that arrive with apple crops.