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Focus on traffic management plan

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Heavy flow: The NCMS parking lot in Udhagamandalam packed with tourist buses on Friday. —
Heavy flow: The NCMS parking lot in Udhagamandalam packed with tourist buses on Friday. —

D. Radhakrishnan

Udhagamandalam: A sudden increase in the inflow of tourists created havoc in this hill station on Friday. Having participated in the 19th CPI(M) Congress at Coimbatore, thousands of party cadres along with their families flocked to this town in vans and buses.

Though the spurt was anticipated, the arrival of hundreds of buses almost one after the other threw arrangements out of gear. With parking lots in different parts of the town, including the main one near the Nilgiris Cooperative Marketing Society (NCMS) overflowing with vehicles, the police were forced to make alternative arrangements. Since even the stop-gap arrangements were not enough, the drivers parked their vehicles wherever they could find sufficient space.

Consequently the local people and other tourists had to cruise around in search of parking space. With the tourists eager to see as many places as possible within the short time given to them and intermittent showers impeding their movement, chaotic conditions prevailed in many places.

Dumping of empty water bottles, leftovers etc considerably increased the litter-related problems even in normally litter-free areas like Collectorate Road. Incomplete works relating to roads and underground drains made matters worse.

Confusion

Stating that poor infrastructural facilities was the main reason for the confusion, observers told The Hindu that Friday’s experience should be treated as an eye-opener by the officials concerned.

It only proves what havoc the inadequate infrastructure can create in a hill station like Ooty, especially in the enforcement and observance of traffic rules during the tourist season. The authorities should be in a state of preparedness for such exigencies. “It is high time a proper traffic management plan is put in place,” they averred.

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