Welcome to Himachal’s worst road

Theog-Hatkoti road
Theog-Hatkoti road

And once again for the third year in a row the worst road prize in Himachal Pradesh goes to the Theog-Rohru road.

Honestly it doesn’t even qualify to be called a road . Around 80 km long , full of deep ruts , some at least 2 feet deep .

It is an almost surreal experience travelling to Rohru via Theog , Kotkhai and Jubbal . Sometimes you get a feeling you are driving on a winding Himalayan dry river bed , trying to explore the lost river that once flowed.

Theog-Hatkoti road

Sometimes you get a feeling you are driving through a desert as the clouds of dust rise , engulf and choke you .

Sometimes when the dust clears you notice the houses , trees , fields , animals and the people all coated in thick dust .

And always the road is bumpy . So bumpy that you are likely to hit your head or neck and get hurt if you do not hold tight .

The constant dust , the constant jerks naturally make you anxious .Then there is the anxiety of damaging your vehicle .

The bad road can hurt your back , the rising dust can make your eyes burn and trigger of sneezing spells as the fine dust gushes through the car window .

You are likely to be irritable and bad tempered , chances are that a headache will be your constant companion on this journey , the headache could linger long after the journey is over .

Work began over three years ago to widen this road . It was to be completed by a Chinese company within three years but looks like the Chinese have forgotten their promise and have sunk into some deep torpor , as if intoxicated by opium .

Work began with great gusto in the first year , trees were cut down in their hundreds , heavy machines cut onto the hill sides , and then suddenly work stopped and has not resumed . The Chinese workers are hardly visible through the dust .

The building of the two lane road involves construction of 15 bridges, 280 culverts and 6.5 km long retaining walls, 5.5 km long covered foot path and 30 rain shelters on the 80 km stretch .

After global tenders were floated Long Jian Road & Bridge Limited a state owned company of China won the contract . This will cost Rs 228 crore and was be completed in three years . Three years later not even a fifth of the work has been completed so far .

So the road remains a disaster zone and nobody bothers to complete the work, nobody even bothers to fill the knee deep holes , but the traffic moves on and the daily suffering continues relentlessly .

The question is how can an elected government sitting in Shimla allow this to go on year after year and do nothing about it .

The question is why are the people so meek to allow the Prem Kumar Dhumal led BJP government to treat them in such a shabby manner .

The question is why haven’t the affected people shown their anger in the past three years .

Why hasn’t the opposition Congress the CPIM and farmer bodies even protested strongly outside the state secretariat .

Why haven’t they mustered courage to storm into the PWD minister Gulab Singh’s office and demanded the road work be completed .

My suspicion is the government could be deliberately neglecting the people of Shimla district for some reason only they must know , why else this indefinite , utter neglect and apathy .

This road has to be seen to be believed . Even if it is just only one road it is reason enough for the Dhumal government , his slothful PWD minister and the over staffed callous bureaucracy and engineers to hang their heads in shame !

In a 20 year career published widely. He has worked for the BBC, AFP, The Statesman, IANS and the Business Standard . Known for his hard hitting writing and occasional off-beat stories. He lives in Shimla.

16 Comments

  • Tarun Goel says:

    itna shamfeul? hahaha this shame is little too much :P

  • Still the worst..!!been almost a year!!..

  • Veroni Kumar says:

    I’ve travelled that stretch of road. It certainly is an adventure ride.

  • TG says:

    Is it a state highway?

  • TG says:

    We can file a grievance through esamadhan and then float the application number in public so that they can see the status

    • Amar says:

      Tried that too. As soon as you submit application, pat comes the reply “Incorrect security code”. On contacting on the given telephone number on the site reply comes from the BSNL “Number dialled by you is not a valid number”. Phir kya karen?

  • K Y Singh says:

    Interestingly, when it comes to protests or agitations for some cause or reason, the plush car owners and the voters of BJP and Congress suddenly remembers the CPI-M or its mass organisations like Kisan Sabha, CITU and SFI to rouse against the government.
    The very road mentioned here has a powerful Minister Narender Bragta, BJP MLAs Balnatha, Rakesh Verma, Suresh Bhardwaj and Congress stalwarts Vidya Stokes, Virbhadra Singh and former CM Ramlal’s decedents. Where have they gone these days?

  • Amar says:

    BJP government always boasts of regional non bias but the fact is otherwise.

    Pahari people are undoubtedly meek and bear so much callousness to protest against the government ever since the BJP govt.lathi charged them and showered bullets on the agitating apple growers about 20 years ago.

    Pahari people worship their ministers and MLAs like gods, which is worst. Public does grumble about the bad condition of this road amongst themselves in some tea shops or at a gossip stations but they do not possess courage to show their anger in front of the MLA/Minister. One reason might be that majority of people are less literate and lack awareness.

    Virbhadra Singh appears to have totally forgotten Rohru since he lost interest in this constituency. Vidya Stokes is around 85 years. What can be expected from such an old person? Moreover she appears to have certain internal adjustment with the present chief minister hence does not react forcefully against the BJP government as a leader of opposition is supposed to do.

    About the CPIM, less said the better. Rakesh Singha appears to have grown old who possessed the dynamism to take protests to the streets. Other CPIM activists have confined themselves to Campus politics.

    PWD minister and the Chief Engineers responsible for the worst condition of Theog-Rohru road are just shameless.

    Suspicion of the writer that the government is delebrately neglecting the people of Shimla district is not unfounded.

    Apples brought prosperity in this district hence the people of other districts became jealous. OK. This is human weakness. Money earned from apples also brought many evils and the rowdy youth of this district created havoc in Shimla town especially when the state was ruled by Ram Lal Thakur and police head of Shimla belonged to the same district.

    Rowdy boys of Shimla district created all sorts of nuisance in the town and would storm city restaurents in a drunken state and openly throw bottles and glasses on rivals. Probably they had the silent protection of their mentors.

    This made the people of other district biased against Shimla district and the result is in front of them in the form of retaliation.They are reaping what they sowed.

  • Varun says:

    About the Chinese company, i read that there was VISA delays for Chinese workers as well hampering the schedule severely.
    No idea whats going on, RTI application is needed to at least know what the hell is happening.

  • lkkapoor says:

    KYSingh is right. The worst road seen in my life although crores rs r transported thro ds road. I think ,public of area 2 enjoys d ride otherwise they would have agitated.

  • Herry says:

    The most important aspect to grow an economy is to have good transportation. If transportation is good, eventually this will lead less transportation cost resulting in lower prices of goods and services.

    Himachal does not stand forth if we compare roads with adjoining state Punjab. The only income generation is from tourism, Himachal have potentials to grow very fast in tourism industry but this is seriously shameful when we have people from different state travelling with us and we feel insulted. There are many medical emergency conditions when people are referred to other state hospitals (PGI) and they are not survived.

    I feel being cursed to live in Himachal just due to this politics. But the truth is that I love Himachal. Lets raise our voices for this social cause. We have approach to govt or media.

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