Honorable HP High Court may kindly take note
SHIMLA– The restricted roads in Shimla are witnessing unusual rise in number of vehicles plying on them either by obtaining permits or by availing exemptions provided to them. The road from CTO to Boileuganj via Chaura Maidan used to be a pleasant, traffic and pollution free road for pedestrians, joggers, or for evening walks, but not anymore.
Citizens look towards the judiciary to not only solve the disputes and to protect their constitutional rights but also to hold itself and citizens to high standards of abiding by the law and civic sense.
The Himachal Pradesh High Court’s own building has been a topic of debate for setting a bad precedent by contravening the rules and regulations of Municipal Corporation. Although the court had expressed its concern over illegal construction and government’s decision to legalize them, and had called permitting illegal construction to later regularize suggestive of non-governance and ostrich-like attitude.
Despite that illegal and haphazard construction in Shimla is being permitted and regularized to the long-term detriment of Shimla and its residents.
It’s ironical that even most responsible institutions like Judiciary ignore matters of civic sense. For instance, daily, and even on Swachhta Diwas, the Judicial Academy, housed in no less than the heritage area of Viceregal Lodge-Curzon House, presented a this unpleasing scene(see picture). Apparently, the judicial officials are not setting standards.
The ban imposed by the honorable High Court on plying of private vehicles on restricted roads leading all the way to Chaura Maidan and Boileauganj exempted lawyers, media and a horde of other officials from this ban.
Not sure why lawyers need these exemptions at all: if anything, they should be the ones setting good examples, to driver via the Cart Road like everyone else or use public transport, and encourage others to follow the same.
The situation has become so bad that the heritage and green belt areas of the Viceregal Lodge (Indian Institute of Advanced Study) including the one from the Viceregal Lodge Gate to Summer Hill have become a ‘free for all zone’ for private and exempted vehicles and cabs in the name of tourism. The police do not impound/challan these vehicles and the barriers meant to stop them are only for name sake.
The pedestrian rights must be protected and these restricted roads must be kept traffic free to preserve their public and aesthetic utility.
By Priyanka Sood, Shimla
Photos: Priyanka Sood
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Himachal Watcher.