Pune: If you are planning to visit the Sinhagad fort or nearby area with your family over a weekend, be prepared for heavy traffic jam. Last week, nearly 22,000 tourists planned to visit the said fort, which led to traffic chaos and over crowding. As the authorities were not prepared to handle such a huge crowd, many tourists had to leave the fort.
The local traffic department said it had written to Collector's office for allowing no-parking on roads leading to Khadakwasla dam and Sinhagad fort on weekends, but the proposal is pending.
On Sunday, visitors were stuck for over five hours on the 3kilometre stretch leading up to the fort. While the day was bad for visitors, it spelt big bucks for forest department officials who collected Rs 65,000 on their first day of monsoon.
Sandip Koli, forest officer said, "On the first weekend of monsoon, as many as 22,000 visitors visited the fort. The visitors started coming from 7 am onwards but by 1 pm the traffic was chaotic."
Nitinkumar Gokave, inspector in-charge of Pune rural traffic branch said, "The routine traffic diversions are in place. Already the road is small and parking the vehicles on both the side of the road makes roads narrower. The vehicles are not parked properly which results in a petty fight after their vehicles are brushed by other vehicles. But we are yet awaiting the permission," he said.
Sinhagad fort falls under the jurisdiction of Pune rural police. In Pune rural police there are only five policemen in traffic branch and rest of the traffic is handled by Haveli police station.
Dilip Bondre, inspector in-charge of Haveli police station said, "Usually the rush increases from July end and we had our policemen deployed at the entrance where the forest department officials collect toll and at the footstep of the fort. We did not allow mini-bus and other sport utility vehicles parking. We suggested the visitors to park their vehicles on Sinhagad road and go walking. Many citizens initially promise they will go up and come down within some time, but they parked the vehicles wherever they got space due to which the road was block."
He added, "Some of the visitors later went to Khadakwasala dam where we were not letting them park the vehicles as most of the crowd from the fort travel to dam. We forcefully asked some of the shops to shut down and the traffic was congested. From this weekend, we have planned to divert the route for citizens coming back from fort will use Kalyan Phata road which will later lead to Khed-Shivapur road."
What the tourist had to say..
Navaniit Mandhaani, a resident of Sahakarnagar recalled, "Around 2pm reached the fort's toll collection point. The police warned us to turn back but we had special guest from Ahmednagar to visit the fort and hence continued. The closer we reached, we saw people parked vehicles indiscriminately and we had no other option but to turn back. We tried going to Khadakwasala but the same parking issue and finally around 7 pm we reached home after wasting five hours in traffic."
Manesh Nambiar, a techie and a resident of Bavdhan who visits the fort every Sunday said, \"Usually on Sundays we have a group where we visit the fort and do trekking but this time I was with my family. The police were not letting us to travel to fort but I insisted them that my parent cannot walk but they refuse to let me go and suggest not to travel as there is huge rush."
If land in traffic jam contact 100 or Pune rural control room 020-25657171. Contact Haveli police station 020- 24471833