Beyond Shimla, tourists in for a rough ride

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Shimla: Tourists heading into the hills beyond Shimla be prepared for a bumpy ride for unless the roads are not set in order soon, the back breaking experience can ruin the much awaited summer holiday one is looking forward too.

The highway beyond Shimla has never been thus bad, says JK Chauhan, a former banker who commutes regularly from Kotkhai.“Its been over 8 months and nobody seems to be interested in repairing this lifeline road that connect up with the Indo-China border, he adds.

Senior minister Gulab Singh Thakur who looks after public works ministry had a hard time in trying to pacify agitated lawmakers from Shimla and Sirmaur districts at the recently concluded budget session of the Vidhan Sabha, assuring them that road repairs would be carried out soon.

However, his claim that the by-pass road at the tourist destination Kufri had been completed could unnerve any visitor out for a scenic excursion there as he would rue having dared to take the new road.

Having cut short a day outing that initially was planned for the ridge top destination of Narkanda, Shikha and Sumant Sharma, who were out for a traveling holiday here said, “taking your car on such roads is tormenting.”

“We had planned a day out at Kufri, Narkanda and Tani Jubbar – as described out in a tourist road map, but we headed back from Kufri itself as the rough road could cause a serious vehicle breakdown,” said Sumant.

Feeling helpless at being unable to get road repairs speeded up, a senior BJP leader in a dilemma about criticizing his own party government said, “last years excessive monsoon rains did cause extensive damage to the road network in Shimla and Sirmaur districts but rains ended in September; the winter though was long and cold but still we are unable to offer an explanation to the people about why the highway was in such a deplorable conditions.”

City roads too are in bad shape,” says Vikas, who stays at Mehli, a suburb. A to and fro daily drive to the city centre on the Shimla by-pass road, simply rattles you, he commented.

A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) performance review about ‘Upgradation and improvement of state highways and major district roads’, made public on Friday revealed that the PWD department was allotting road maintenance funds based on a 1997 price yardstick.

“Funds provided at the unrevised rates were insufficient to meet the expenditure on maintenance thereby affecting quality of roads,” the review report comments.

Editor-Reporter with Hill Post, Ravinder Makhaik as a journalist has for over two decades worked for India’s leading newspapers and television networks.

2 Comments

  • Rupesh Gupta says:

    Gulab singh ji if this trend continues of not repairing the roads HP will loose number of tourists who visit every year. I don’t understand how many funds you people require. I visited Shimla Last Oct and roads were is pathetic state especially the bypass road. Even the CHD highway is not in good shape. Please repair allthe roads in State before onset of Monsoon otherwise it willbe a big commuting problem.

  • Rakesh Sharma says:

    its been almost 20yrs i have been witnessing these road hassles on NH22 .highway braodening plan has failed miserably and in addition loosen the grip of breastwalls and hillsides..number of trees fallen due to landslides may not matter for PWD or Forest Deptts…but it must be infinite plus the tourism loss it causes to resorts/hotels/destinations in upper himachal is immense. …its a shame for NH authorities and PWD department and subesequent Govt’s of himachal..that even after more than two decades the highway seems bleeding…and its condition is worse than before when i used to visit my Nani at narkanda in 80’s..All the authorities, geologists and governments must be held resposible and accountable for this mess they had done to lifestyle in upper himachal..

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