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Parking lots to mitigate traffic woes in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong

Parking lots to mitigate traffic woes in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong
Traffic woes in the three Hills sub-divisions of Darjeeling are set to be a thing of past, as work on construction of four parking lots have started in a war-footing by the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).
The GTA is spending nearly Rs.80 crore for two parking lots in Darjeeling and one each in Kalimpong and Kurseong subdivisions. These are expected to be completed in seven months’ time.
In Darjeeling, the two complete new parking spaces are being constructed in Kakjhora and Lebong Cart road. “Work on the construction of the two parking lots in Darjeeling is half complete. Similarly, in Kurseong and Kalimpong too work is in progress in a war footing and should be completed in seven to eight months’ time,” said Jyoti Kumar Rai, Sabhasad in-charge of the GTA’s transport department, on Sunday.
With encroachment by shops and vendors on the narrow main road aggravating the problem, parking spaces for vehicles in the three towns in the hills are at a premium. Vehicles coming to the town from villages and from the plains are parked haphazardly and illegally on road sides
choking traffic.
However, with the GTA’s initiative of constructing parking lots, traffic problems could be a thing of the past. “We hope that the parking problems presently prevalent in the Hills sub-divisions will end once these parking lots are completed,” Rai said.
The Kakjhora parking lot about 1 km from the town being constructed at the cost of Rs.10.70 crore when completed is expected to accommodate 160 small vehicles and 10 buses. The Lebong cart road lot (near the Darjeeling Government College) will accommodate nearly 460 small and
big vehicles and will cost Rs.23.23 crore.
The parking lot at Kurseong on the Bypass Road below the town and the one at Kalimpong will house 400 vehicles each. The construction cost at Kurseong is pegged at Rs.25 crore but the estimate for Kalimpong could not be ascertained.
Earlier, to rid the traffic woes, the Darjeeling municipality had drawn up a proposal to dismantle old buildings to construct new ones with parking spaces in the new structures. “The civic body did
have a plan to do away with some of its old buildings that are over hundred years old. It wanted to construct new structures in place with facility for parking lot. But, the plan has not gone beyond the
proposal stage,” said a source inside the municipality.
The All Transport Joint Action Committee (ATJAC) an umbrella organization of transport syndicates operating in the Hills welcomed the GTA’s initiative. “Much of the traffic congestion in the towns will be removed once the parking lots come up. However, we will also need to look into the quantity of vehicles that ply within them town areas. Not all vehicles can be accommodated but modalities can be streamlined, later,” said Norbu Lama, the ATJAC, president. Once the four parking lots are completed, the GTA has plans to construct more in other areas of the hills. These are currently on the drawing board. (EOIC)

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