Nainital: The popular hill station of Nainital has shut its doors to tourists arriving in vehicles, with authorities putting up houseful banners at various points on the outskirts of the resort town.
The move comes after the Uttarakhand High Court reprimanded authorities for poor traffic management in the town.
Instead of welcome boards, tourists coming to the hill town are now greeted by "Nainital Houseful" banners in Hindi at all approach roads to the tourist hotspot including Bhimtal Crossing, Kathgodham Police Chowki Crossing and Nariman Crossing.
The banners were put up at these points yesterday as authorities were having a tough time managing traffic, Nainital traffic police in-charge Mahesh Chandra said.
He said there are 12 parking lots in Nainital which can accommodate nearly 2000 four-wheelers together but the town has been witnessing arrival of 3,000 to 4,000 tourist vehicles per day.
"Traffic scene literally goes out of gear when 'weekend tourists' from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh pour in," he said.
"In a situation like this we had no choice but to urge tourists to leave their vehicles beyond the limits of the town," he said. Tourist vehicles are being stopped temporarily in city's outskirts like Kaladunghi, Narayan Nagar, Roosi Bypass and so on. "This is only meant to ease up congestion. Nainital. Traffic personnel are coordinating with each other to ensure the situation doesn't become chaotic, Chandra said.
The Uttarakhand High Court had yesterday asked the Nainital district administration to explain within a week why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against it for failing to implement its orders meant to improve traffic management in the tourist town.
A division bench of Justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and Lokpal Singh issued the notice while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Nainital-based activist Ajay Singh Rawat in 2012. In April this year, the high court had asked the state government to ensure that those coming to Nainital in their own vehicles should make advance arrangements for parking vehicles.
Drivers in Nainital feel construction of big parking spaces in and around the tourist town is the only way out.
They also said there should be a ban on movement of tourist vehicles within Nainital for local sightseeing. They can go to tourist spots outside Nainital in their vehicles, but not in the city because this adds to congestion, they said. PTI