Hills yet to implement several proposed traffic management measures

Vehicles stuck in snow in Darjeeling
DARJEELING: Traffic problems in Darjeeling get accentuated and come into focus especially during extreme weather conditions like Saturday’s hailstorm. The storm led to roads being clogged by stranded vehicles and it took more than 12 hours for travellers from Ghoom to reach Darjeeling town.
The district administration and GTA had, in the past, drawn up plans to minimize the traffic problems, but much of it is yet to be implemented. The GTA has constructed two parking lots, one at Kakjhora and the other near Darjeeling Government College, to ease traffic movement within the town. 

The Darjeeling Municipality had also drawn up a proposal to dismantle its old buildings to construct new ones with parking spaces. “The civic body did have a plan to do replace some old buildings that are over a hundred years old. But the plan has not gone beyond the proposal stage,” said a source.

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Darjeeling, along with its surrounding areas, is the biggest tourist draw in Bengal. It follows that there should be back-up plans for such emergency situations. The Queen of the Hills is too important a treasure to be treated lackadaisically.

The traffic problem intensifies when vehicles have to be controlled on National Highway-55, between Ghoom and Darjeeling Town, an 8km stretch. Unlike other highways, this one is narrow and there is no space to widen it. In fact, it is the only highway in the country that runs through a busy town and market area. To make matters worse, there are no alternative roads. After the hailstorm on Saturday, there were allegations from tourists and locals that the district administration had failed to extend cooperation, with many saying that they did not see a single cop or official on the road.

The Darjeeling police, though, rubbished the allegations, saying they had been deployed on stretches from Ghoom to Darjeeling. “The additional SP, along with officers, were on the road to clear the hailstorm ice,” said an officer.

DHR sources blamed the district administration. Though officials of DHR did not receive TOI’s calls, a source said, “Where were the disaster management people of the district administration? We did not even see the police on the road.” District administration officials, too, couldn’t be reached. (TOI)

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Traffic problems in Darjeeling get accentuated and come into focus especially during extreme weather conditions like Saturday’s hailstorm. The storm led to roads being clogged by stranded vehicles and it took more than 12 hours for travellers from Ghoom to reach Darjeeling town

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