District Magistrate and Chairman of the District Disaster Management Authority has issued new orders to resume toll collection at Sanwara on National Highway-5. The decision comes as all types of vehicles are now able to travel on the highway.
This decision overturns the previous orders from August 5, when toll collection was suspended due to extensive damage caused by heavy rains on the Chandigarh-Shimla highway. The highway suffered severe damage at multiple points, leading to protests from villagers who found it unfair to pay toll while the road was in a deteriorated state. Furthermore, heavy vehicles were unable to move for several days due to the heavy rainfall.
The National Highways Authority of India informed the District Magistrate on August 21 that the highway was operational and efforts were underway to restore its functionality. Despite ongoing restoration efforts, major repair work is yet to begin at critical locations like Sanwara and Chakki Mor.
The forecast from the Indian Meteorological Department predicts light to moderate rain at a few places starting from August 26. Considering this, NHAI officials have requested the District Magistrate to resume toll collection at Sanwara.
In terms of the impact of the rainy season, around 450 individuals from 26 villages in Baddi, Ramshehar, and Kasauli tehsils have been relocated to safer locations within Solan district. These villages have been grappling with land subsidence issues, resulting in the displacement of residents. Many villagers have moved to nearby villages with their relatives, or they have been accommodated in relief camps set up in local schools and community centers.
The heavy rains have caused significant destruction, including the loss of arable land, leaving villagers without land to cultivate. As restoration efforts continue, challenges persist for the affected communities in Solan district.