The sorry state of Himachal Roads

PALAMPUR: Repeated road accidents near Chamba leading life-loss of thirty people have lately put a safety question mark in the minds of the passengers. You will be astonished to acknowledge that over 150 innocent persons have lost their lives in different road mishaps in the state in past three months and every third day an accident is reported!

In Himachal Pradesh “an accident free day” is a news while the heavy casualties have become a matter of routine. Almost after every accident the state government orders probe into cause of accident, but no follow up action is taken on such reports. Sometimes vital issues are pointed out in such reports by the inquiry officer, such as improvement of particular portion of road where the accident was taken place but such reports remain confined to files and ultimately thrown to dust bin.

Tall claims made by the Himachal Pradesh government to check the motor accidents in the state are only confined to files and nothing worthwhile has been done to ensure the passenger safety in the state. Though the state government is well conversant with the situation that 98 percent of the total population of the state are dependent on the road transport but the passenger safety has completely been neglected.

In most of the mishaps the private buses, maxi cabs and taxis were involved, it seems that state government did not learn any lesson and it has still been granting route permits to private transporters merely on political considerations, without looking into the conditions of those roads where the vehicles are to be plied. No one in the government is bothered to verify whether the roads for which permits were being issued had been issued are traffic worthy or not.

Though there has been manifold increase in the light and heavy vehicles in the state in past five years, state and interstate traffic has also gone up but no efforts were made to improve the roads accordingly, the width of most of the roads are the same as it was 30 years ago. The state government has announced various steps for the widening of roads but very little improvement has been done in this field so far. Even the conditions of national and state highways is worst in state

In the absence of “political will” most of such projects have been hanging fire. The conditions of internal roads in the state are worst where frequent bus accidents are taking place. Rampant corruption is prevailing in state public works department. Most of the road contracts were awarded at the behest of ministers and MLAs, therefore, inferior quality of materials are used for the construction of roads and its retaining walls , which have been collapsing daily resulting in fatal accidents.

According to official figures in past eight years, over 5000 persons in the state have lost their lives in different road accidents while over 45320 were injured. The state has a high rate of accident because of its difficult topography and narrow roads.

The another factor responsible for sharp increase of bus accident in the state is attributed to rampant corruption prevailing in the licensing wing of the transport department. No proper procedure and rules are followed while issuing the driving licenses. In fact the licenses are not issued but sold . It is alleged that at present RS 10000 to 15000 is charged for the grant of a driving license for the heavy vehicles in the state.

A senior journalist from Palampur.

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9 Comments

  • Dear Sir,

    Thanks for your exposures for the state of the sorry road conditions in the state.
    It is not the public but the young generation at the receiving end. They are now have to wear the burdens of the injured one. They have to contribute with their times and money.
    The governments of any state should take care of such situation.
    It is the” Menes Rea ” state,

    Thanks and with best regards

  • In america, there is road building fund whose
    money comes from petrol tax. Sometimes
    even uses toll road in order to pay for borrowing
    money to build roads. Some roads get repaved every
    fall because they use salt to melt the snow which
    destroys the payment. A lot of petrol is needed to
    build roads aka global warming.

    Are the citizen of Himachal ready for such a scheme.
    Where politicians are not in charge of passing out largess.

    Nothing comes free. It is better to have tax to pay for all
    this then to borrow money in this kind of situation.

    • Yes , people are ready to pay taxes but what if that money our politicians spend on buying laptops and luxury cars for themselves.( Haryana Govt. gives laptops and luxury cars to all MLA s ).Same is the case of all Indian states. DC of Mandi collected money to beautify the National Highway with ornamental plants and beautiful trees and all that money went into politicians pocket.What will be the fate of this country where our politicians along with our beaurocrats enjoy on the money collected through Red Cross funds.Shameful .

  • I have gone through the article of Mr. Ravinder Sood, it is really very well written. I hail from small village of Himachal and serving in a Government Medical College in Gujrat. The corruption in government is one of the basic factor responsible for poor raods in the state. Today all contract are being alloted at the behest of MLAs and Minister. Even in some contract office of the Chief Minister is also intervening for the allotment of contractor to particular contractor. Honest and hardworking persons are needed in the government only then the improvement can be expected. If our minister or chief minister is corrupt, it would give long rope to the officers to indulge in corruption openly.

  • A story related to roads in Himachal Pradesh and rising accidents is a true picture of Himachal roads. The situation could only be improved if Chief Ministers PK Dhumal initiate action against the corrupt officers of PWD, transport and other departments responsible for the construction of roads, sanctioing of routes, passing of vehicles. If Mr. Dhumal finds himself helpless, he should get the services of some other vigliance agencies like CBI. He had to come to the expectations of the people who had voted him to to power. Only three years are left with Dhumal, he could do a lot for Himachal. Please save Himachal, do not alllow it to become Punjab or Bihar UP

  • Accidents growth in HP is more dangerious than Swine flue. The utilization of funds , decipline on roads and reduction for operation of light vehicles can reduice the road accidednts

  • It is sad state of affairs that Himchal Pradesh government has failed to initiate stesp for the modernisation of its road on global standrad. Accident rate in the state has gone up. People were being killeded in the accidents like epdemic. If the figures quoted by Ravinder Sood is belived, it is really alarming. situation, I am in US, here no one can even dream for sch state of affairs. Himcahl govrnment should come out with some drastic measures to reduce the accident rate in the state. I read on line editon of The Tribune here and find accident news from Himachal daily, really it is shocking and shameful for Himachal government

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