Traffic jams hassle tourists on Mandi-Kullu road stretch

Traffic jams hassle tourists on Mandi-Kullu road stretch

Vehicles going to Manali stuck in a traffic jam on the Chandigarh-Manali highway at Mandi on Tuesday. Photo: Jai Kumar.

Tribune News Service

Dipender Manta

Mandi, June 14

Traffic jams on the Mandi-Kullu road stretch have become the order of the day, as tourist influx to Kullu and Manali has increased sharply. With temperatures rising in plains, a large number of tourist vehicles can be seen plying to Kullu and Manali.

The police are facing difficulties in managing traffic on the Mandi-Kullu road, which is being widened to four lanes. The worst traffic jams can be seen on the Mandi-Pandoh road stretch, where the National Highways Authority of India has engaged its workforce and machinery. Anup Thakur, president of Kullu-Manali Paryatan Vikas Mandal, says, “Tourists arriving in Manali are complaining about long traffic jams between Mandi and Kullu. The situation has aggravated in the past one week and the problem must be addressed on priority to ensure that the tourism industry is not hit adversely.”

“Room occupancy in hotels of Kullu and Manali has gone up to 90 per cent, which is a good sign for the industry. We are hopeful that during June, the hotel industry of Kullu and Manali will witness good business,” he says.

Data accessed by the Tribune from the Police Department reveals that the number of vehicles crossing in and out via Hathithan in Kullu district rose to 15,204 in one day on June 12. Similarly in Mandi district, the number of vehicles crossing in and out at Dhanotu Chowk in Mandi was recorded as 20,048 on June 12.

Mandi SP Shalini Agnihotri said that “due to heavy flow of tourist vehicles and the on-going construction work on this road stretch, traffic jams were occurring on the road between Mandi and Kullu. At a few places, the NHAI was undertaking tarring work, which was also causing traffic jams.”

“To avoid inconvenience to the commuters travelling on this route, adequate police force has been deployed at key locations from Mandi up to Takoli on this highway to manage the traffic,” said the SP.

Varun Chari, Project Director, NHAI, said, “We are set to complete the construction work of the Mandi-Pandoh stretch by March 2023, while Pandoh-Takoli road stretch to be completed by March 2024.

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