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Minister’s green promise for Shimla: Golf carts on the Mall

Offering a green solution to the town’s environmental pollution,and traffic congestion,Himachal Pradesh government will soon introduce golf carts

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Offering a green solution to the town’s environmental pollution,and traffic congestion,Himachal Pradesh government will soon introduce golf carts as an alternative transport mode,mainly to cover core Shimla areas — the restricted and sealed roads.

Under the British Raj,when Shimla was the country’s summer capital,man-pulled rickshaws were allowed on the Mall road,primarily to ferry Viceroys,British generals and high-ups. Now,it’s a question of reducing vehicular congestion and providing facility to senior citizens,physically challenged and sick,apart from finding solution to pollution.

Transport Minister G S Bali said,“You will see golf carts ferrying senior citizens and persons with disabilities on the Mall and few other inner roads of Shimla. Negotiations are at an advanced stage with the manufacturers,one of these also based at Chandigarh,to buy four golf carts. It’s a battery operated small cart,used by golf clubs.”

Bali said the government was working on an ambitious plan to modernise the urban transport system,which will take care of the needs of senior citizens,physically incapacitated persons,and sick,who can’t walk,or who need a safe and decent mobility. “I feel pained to see cars and luxury vehicles running on Shimla’s roads and even youngsters choosing to drive through the core Shimla areas. The old walking habits are gone,cycles and bikes have disappeared but cars have become a fancy in places like Shimla,” he said.

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During his last tenure,Bali had introduced taxi service for the aged and physically challenged persons ,which now has become a mode of transport on at least two dozen roads between Lakkar bazar,Chalet Day Chowk,CTO,Jakhu hill,Ritz chowk,Chotta Shimla,Khalini crossing,Sanjauli,Kasumpti,Tutu,New Shimla,Vikas Nagar and Bharari. “Senior citizens have been repeatedly complaining about the service and their ill-treatment. I have decided to offer them an exclusive and dedicated transport mode of Golf carts. It’s environmental friendly,safe and risk free transport. Once we get the delivery of four golf carts,the routes will be finalised mainly covering inner roads – parts of Mall road (barring core area) and restricted roads,” he told Sunday Express.

Initially,the government had also proposed to explore possibilities of a monorail service. Few manufacturers of automated pod (four to six-seater battery powered cars) also approached the government to introduce the vehicle in Shimla and Dharamsala towns.

But,Bali seems to have come out with a new mode. Next on his agenda is the introduction of a radio-taxi service in four major towns and fixed fare luxury AC bus service in Shimla for tourists.

Ashwani Sharma

First published on: 22-09-2013 at 04:46 IST
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