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17 Feb 2018

K'pong works to ease traffic congestion

NISHA CHETTRI, SNS, KALIMPONG, 16 FEBRUARY: As traffic problems in the town mount by the day, the district administration and the Motor Vehicle Department have issued strict orders, regulating parking of vehicles at the motor stand here.
From now on, it is mandatory for the drivers to park their vehicles at alternative places and go for a rotation basis, by coordinating with the other drivers, for parking at the motor stand. The motor stand has a capacity of around 80 vehicles, small or big, which also includes buses.
" If only around 40-50 vehicles are parked there, can have an easier vehicle movement around the town, while the rest of the cars can be shifted to places like Alkananda Guest House, near the Kalimpong College, Seed-farm (Relli Road) Regulated Market, near CST school, and Shahid Park, 11th Mile," Assistant Regional Transport Officer (ARTO) Biswajeet Das said today.
Santosh Sharma, the President of the Hill Motor Driver Workers Union, the frontal organization of the Hill Trinamul Congress said the administration has sent them a letter, asking them to remove their cars from the Motor Stand. Around 50-60 cars belonging to the union are parked at the stand every day.
"We got the letter four days ago from the RTO Kalimpong, stating that we are allowed to keep only 10 cars at the Motor Stand. We have been keeping 50-60 cars there. The letter also mentions that only 10 taxi-number cars are allowed there," Mr Sharma said.
"However, the thing is, where do we park the other cars now? They have not given us an alternative," he lamented. 
He also threatened to hit the streets in protest if the administration fails to arrange proper parking spaces as soon as possible. The parking lot being built below Novelty Cinema hall is also incomplete till now, the organization complained.
Mr Sharma said the motor stand was not the causing the traffic snarls in the town. "It is the main roads that stretch from 10th Mile to Novelty Cinema. The department should remove cars from the other places rather than the motor stand" he contested.
The ARTO, however explained that the idea behind clearing the motor star of half the vehicles was to keep the-middle-way" (road) less congested for any emergency. -A fire brigade or an ambulance, if it happens to go that way, will not be stuck,-" Mr Das reasoned.
Private vehicles are also parked in parallel lines beyond Novelty Cinema hall, especially lorries, while the administration has allowed only two trucks there. Other vehicles that ply the Teesta route are also parked there. The ARTO however, said only 2-3 cars for the Teesta route will be parked there from now on.
"Drivers here carry passengers in private vehicles, while as per government rules, only vehicles with taxi numbers can carry passengers. We have been asking people to register their vehicles for taxi number months now, and we have crossed the December 2017 deadline for this. However by 31 March, all vehicles should be made commercial," Mr Das said.

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