Operations of 36 buses affected due to closure of the Paonta Sahib-Shillai National Highway-707

Tribune News Service
Solan, July 31

Operations of as many as 36 buses comprising private operators and Himachal Roadways Transport Corporation (HRTC) were hit due to closure of the Paonta Sahib-Shillai National Highway-707 at Kali Dhang Barwas in Shillai sub-division of Sirmaur district on Saturday.

Notably, a 150m road had caved in yesterday morning at Kali Dhang Barwas.

Vehicular movement has been hit on this stretch and buses could ply on limited routes from Shillai to Kafota and from Paonta Sahib to Sataun.

Some link roads were being repaired and made operational to ensure that the area was not cut-off.

SDM Paonta Sahib said diversion of traffic has been worked out through Kafota-Jakna-Jong-Vikas Nagar-Paonta Sahib and HRTC buses enroute Rohru, Dhamkoti, etc., were operated on this route today.

Another route through Kafota-Killod-Paonta Sahib is also operational and no area was cut off and efforts were on to make more link roads operational.

Being new routes, the buses had to seek permission to ply on them as restoration of the road was slated to take weeks.

Regional Transport Authority, Sona Chauhan, said, "A request has been made to the State Transport Authority at Shimla to permit buses to take a diversion from Sataun through a 9.5 kms stretch though link roads as well as through a 40 to 50-km stretch through Vikas Nagar in Uttarakhand for buses plying on the Paonta Sahib-Shillai routes."

These buses presently operate on 64 routes and once the nod is received from the STA, they can ply on these routes to facilitate the residents.

Akhil Sharma, General Secretary, the Sirmaur Bus Operators Union, who operators Avni Travels, however, said, "The closure of road at Kali Dhank Barwas has adversely hit the transporters as well as the residents. The alternate route worked out through Vikas Nagar in Uttarakhand will entail a daily tax of Rs 2,400 in Uttarakhand. Being narrow, the link roads could not withstand much traffic and a jam had occurred last evening too."

He added, "Since it will not be viable to operate the buses under such circumstances, the administration has been requested to talk to the Uttarakhand government and allow exemption in this tax."

Som Sharma, another local from Kamrau, opined that in order to ease the vehicular movement a request can be made to the Uttarakhand government to allow passage of smaller vehicles through a bridge on Chibru hydel dam project.

Given the limited load bearing capacity of this bridge, iron railings have been erected at the bridge's entry to dissuade vehicles from using it and this forced the residents to take a longer detour.

The opening of the bridge can, however, risk the bridge as heavy goods laden trucks can also use it.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service
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