People opting for private vehicles in Himachal Pradesh

With limited public transport facility available, people in Himachal Pradesh are preferring to have their own personal mode of transportation. Among the 20 states surveyed by ASSOCHAM, Himachal Pradesh has been ranked second where 144% growth in terms of car, jeep, van as a mode of transportation per 1,000 households during 2001-2011, has been witnessed.

Private vehicles are owned by people even in villages bordering China in Kinnaur districts. In Namgia village, last Indian village close to Shipkila Pass along China, villagers have bought around two dozen private vehicles ranging from compact cars to SUVs, since bus service is hardly available in these areas.

"Buses were suspended a couple of years ago which is why every household depends on its own transportation to move the agricultural produce," said Sunil Negi, a villager. With limited rail and air network, roads play a vital role in Himachal Pradesh. With rural areas of the state connected via roads, a surge in the number of private vehicles has been witnessed. Till December 2011, roads connected around 9,700 villages, sources said.

The growth of four wheelers as a mode of transport in urban and rural centers has seen a surge of 93% and 91%, respectively, across India. While, 10 states out of the major 20 have recorded growth higher than all-India level for both urban and rural centers. Haryana (149%), Himachal Pradesh (144%), J&K (124%), Tamil Nadu (122 per cent) and Karnataka (115 per cent) are leading states which have recorded maximum growth for four wheelers.

Study has shown that Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Punjab lead the way in terms of growth seen in the number of households that own car/jeep/van as a mode of transportation in the rural centers. According to sources in the state transport department, more than 30,000 two-wheelers, over 20,000 cars, around 2,000 vans and around 1,000 jeeps are registered in the state.

Not only urban areas, even remote districts like Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur and Pangi-Bharmaur of Chamba have witnessed a surge in the number of private vehicles. "In Lahaul, many projects are coming up and with the compensation money, people have started buying swanky cars," said Rajesh Baba, a resident of Udaipur village. Rise in number of vehicles has already resulted in traffic chaos. There are parking troubles in Shimla, Dharamshala, McLeodganj, Manali, Solan and Mandi since small cars are being replaced by large SUVs.



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