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Siliguri chock-a-block as shoppers cram markets

The Statesman 2018-10-10 05:28:47

Traffic congestion has always been a problem in Siliguri. However, the snarls have grown bigger in the past few days, thanks to shoppers who have been thronging marketplaces in droves for the annual spree ahead of the Durga Puja. Meanwhile, Siliguri mayor Asok Bhattacharya has sought the intervention of the police for the smooth running of traffic in the town.

Hill Cart Road, Hasmi Chowk, Hospital Road, Bidhan Market and Sevoke Road, the main areas of the town, are chock-a-block with vehicles, rickshaws, e-rickshaws, bicycles and people, especially in the evenings.

“Haphazard parking of vehicles has compounded the problem. We are taking steps to have a smooth traffic. But such a situation arises every year ahead of the pujas,” traffic police officers said.

Deputy Commissioner of Traffic, Siliguri Metropolitan Police, Narendra Nath Tripathi, said traffic restrictions for vehicles will be imposed from 14 October and will continue till 20 October.

“Traffic movement will come to halt on 14 October from 4 pm till 2 am, and from 16 to 20 October, the movement of vehicles will stop from 4 pm to 4 am on the main routes. However, the timings could change considering the crowd situation in the town. No goods vehicles or buses will be allowed to ply during that period beyond Paribhan Nagar, Bhaktinagar check post, and Noukaghat. Vehicles coming from Sevoke will be diverted through the Eastern bypass towards New Jalpaiguri and Fulbari, while vehicles coming from Jalpaiguri will be diverted from Noukaghat. This will continue until the Pujas are over,” Mr Tripathi said.

“During the festive season, it is difficult to control the traffic, as people hit the markets for their puja shopping and congestion becomes the order of the day. However, we will ensure smooth traffic. Moreover, helmets are compulsory for motorcycle riders during the Pujas, and we will take stern action against offenders as safety comes first,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bhattacharya said he has written to the police, drawing their attention to the traffic problems in the town. “We have received several complaints owing to the congestion in the town. Moreover, resentment among the business community and the common people is growing. The situation could be gloomier during the puja days,” said Mr Bhattacharya.