One hell of a road this one !

They say,the condition of the roads reflects the overall performance of a government.And if you see the plight of the roads in Himachal Pradesh you at once know the government has failed to perform.

The government is guilty of utterly neglecting the state roads and letting down the people of the state and the tourists who visit the state from across the globe.

In the near absence of rail and air network they say roads are the lifeline of the people of the hill state.But the Prem Kumar Dhumal led BJP government has ignored the lifeline of the people,one wonders why.

Talking to a cross section of people across the state and travelling on some of these miserable roads over the past couple of years you feel the state government doesn’t exist, so appalling is the condition of some of the roads.

The village roads, the state highways and even the national highways are in utter neglect and disrepair.

Many describe the NH-22, also called the Hindustan Tibet road the worst major road in the state.The 50 km stretch from Kufri to Narkanda is a disaster zone.

Forget about the once lovely winding high altitude road running through Himalayan pine trees and the clean crisp air on your face in the popular tourist resort of Kufri.

Now the road at Kufri has turned into a nightmare, full of deep ruts, and always there is dust emanating and enveloping Kufri as if one were driving through a desert town.But through the dust you can glimpse exotic yaks,a reminder that it is Kufri, so bad is the road here.

The road continues further like this,full of deep potholes many even a foot deep.A lapse in concentration means a rude bump for the driver,maybe even a breakdown.

The bumpy road shakes and rattles your car,your body and even your brains.To console yourself you may imagine being a dirt road driver of a Himalayan car rally in the remote Lahaul valley,except you’re not driving a racing car but an ordinary car and the challenges ahead can scare you,so bad is the Hindustan Tibet road !

By the time you pass Theog which in covered in layers of dust,looking so ordinary and decrepit.Narkanda is still 30 km away and the punishing drive continues without relief.Even the spectacular scenery of the mountains offers little relief and succour.

Anxious and gloomy you worry a possible breakdown,worse even a head-on or down the hill crash so disheartening is the drive.The only relief is the thought of a warm meal or steaming hot coffee at Narkanda after the punishing journey.

You try to remind yourself that as a tax payer the government is supposed to look after this road,even though the road ahead hardly looks like a road.

You don’t know how to react when you hear the state’s PWD minister Gulab Singh talk like a clown,“Don’t worry, once the skies clear up all the roads of Himachal will be spick and span”, he has been often saying for so long, but the roads only seem to get worse.

If you’ve travelled on this road you should have no problem saying that the Kufri-Narkanda national highway is the worst road in Himachal and a shame on the Dhumal government which is always strangely boasting and claiming to be the number one state of India in many fields !

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.

14 Comments

  • The condition of roads in Himachal is really bad.If we see the road condition in Chamba district it is worse. The State Highway no 21 which connects Chamba with another part is not repaired so many time.Government should look into this matter.Government has also funds to widen up this road but I don’t know why they are delaying. Pathankot Chamba Highway was widened by NHPC but a portion which is only 15 to 20 km, Government need to work on that.

    • You can directly ask State PWD dept about the status of this road. Whether the dept. has given the project for road repair to a contractor OR funds are stuck somewhere .. you will know. Use e-Samadhan (Remember to put in all correct details.. particularly the areas you think need immediate attention from the department)

  • @admin – You can put a Twitter Icon on the top and Facebook Recommend at the bottom. These are quick.. almost all news websites use them.

    The ‘Bookmark and Share’ widget you are using is too old 🙂 You can still keep it but try using Facebook Recommend separately.. it allows one-click link sharing on facebook..

    • Dear Kamal,

      Thank you for your suggestion, will do. You should join the team and help with the technical part and also contribute with articles. Please do give it a thought.

      • @Avnish – Yeah right.

        I have mailed one small story at info@himachal.us. I hope you got it… I am no more into designing and coding..So I won’t be able to help with the technical part..
        I am now working as a full time freelance writer.. .. So, I will try to contribute as many articles as possible in near future.

  • I am also surprised why a government is so indifferent to roads. All energy has been put to blame on Monsoons and Chinese company. These are however not convincing arguments as Monsoon had come with the same intensity earlier too. The other point with Chinese company is also not valid because there is systematic lapse on our side. The world’s leading company has done the work very professionally. Had the work been done by the PWD or any other Indian contractor we can easily imagine the pathetic situation that would have prevailed.
    Some opposition member had rightly said that the ‘Road wale Mukhyamanti’ has now become “Gaddon wale Mukhya Mantri”. This was certain to happen when the department was handed over to Samadhi ji and the favourite beaurocrate with divisive ideology who had ordered fire on apple orchardists a decade ago. Moreover, “Har goan ki kahani” and “Har ghar kuch kahta hai” has become so catchy and favorite to the CM that he keeps preaching and distributing the books to travellers visiting his office. Perhaps it is forgotten that these travellers have come through the same roads. Main entry road to state from Parvanoo to Shimla itself is in a very bad shape. Never in the last one decade or so. Moreover, begging for 30 rupees for no reason explain the very nature of our state. The condition is worse at Kala Amb entry. I wonder where is the all money received from centre is going? Everyone knows that NH is financed by central government. Same is the story with NH upto Narkanda. Chinese company is not here so no scope for blame.
    In state capital itself, the potholes are not filled yet whether it is Vikasnagar, BCS, Khalini or Sanjauli-Dhali. Where is the Governance? Busy transferring babus and poor teachers. Perhaps this enlarges the scope.
    Monsoon is very near and Government will surely find something to blame. But be prepared to be washed afterwards.

  • Yes, I have travelled this road as a passenger and can wholy agree with the writer! It is one nightmare ride that is sure to test your nerves!

  • I agree with views, I am unable to understand when govt is boasting of bringing industries to Baddi , they don’t have any plan to develop the roads in baddi-barotiwala area, why they are taking 30 Rs. from all vehicles when they are not able to carpet even 15 meters of road on same stretch where this money is being taken in entry point at Barotiwala, it’s always full of trucks and people just curse the govt. and paying also

  • INDIA is not ruled by leaders anymore..only touts of National Resources Exist ! What more can be expected from people in power who can give contracts to CHINESE companies..and same people keep scaring public with CHINESE threats across borders..and allowing them in state’s sensitive areas.. The policy is keep security loopholes open..so that country remains in danger..and leaders enjoy hefty commissions out of ARMS deals !!!

    Now INDIA needs Bhrashtachar Mantralya ..Its a fact that we need it urgently because so many irregularities, corruption, Scandals.. and loot organisations need to be managed professionally like other departments !

  • Well thanks to Mr Kamal Thakur for his suggestions and keep updating Aam Admi about tools they can effectively use….
    Though I feel this is the the system which is corrupt ,So even if Raja Veerbhadra comes to power he can’t do much about it…..
    Only Tool which can work for this country is JAN LOKPAL Bill…This tool will be revolutionising as you saw in Jantar Mantar that there are so many of us who cares about our Country…and with the Tools like Jan Lokpal they will make sure that Politicians and Bureaucrats don’t bend the rules for appeasing some community AND wipe out corruption…….

  • I agree. In their previous tenure, the BJP government had improved the conditions of the roads. It was a real pleasure to drive from Shimla to Dharamsala. It is not so now-bumpy roads, dust and dirt after regular intervals due to widening of the road, potholes- these so called lifelines are killjoys. I feel ashamed of My Himachal when tourists complained of all this to me.

  • Today’s newspaper carries a statement of Xen National Highway Division, who is responsible for the maintenance of NH 22 that the road may or may not be repaired before the coming apple season, because all shall depend on the weather.
    This speaks of the intention of the PWD officials, how much serious it is to repair the NH which is not only a lifeline for the apple growers but also is of utmost military importance as it is known as Hindustan-Tibet road too.
    It is now clear beyond doubt that the present government or its babudom is determined to ruin the economy of hill people who use this road. How much the government ‘loves’ the people dependent on this road can be ascertained that the bara sahib responsible for maintaining this road is the same person who had ordered firing on hapless villagers, in the hills, protesting against this very BJP government back in 1991.

    Often there are statements from our ‘gaddon wale mukhyamantri ji’ that the indo-china border is quite sensitive and there should be a train to the border area. The border road NH 22 is being kept delebrately in such a bad shape and poorly maintained. Can somebody please show a map to our mukhyamantri to let him know where exactly China border is and how important this road is to the security of the nation??

    I can sense that that those responsible to maintain this strategic road are hand in glove with the Chinese to delebrately keep this road in a worse condition making sure that what happened in 1962 is repeated again!!

    Irony of the fate is that the opposition Congress is toothless sans any leader worth his salt who could take the matter to the streets. Earlier the Comrades used to take up such issues but of late they have chosen to confine themselves to remain in campus politics.

  • Dear All, Everyone is talking bout the NH22, But friends have anyone visited Una – Amb leading to Dharamsala, the Venue for IPL 4. If anybody wants to visit the place…. must do it like our Hon’ble MP Mr. Anurag Thakur who preferred… Kingfisher rather than Road….. May be due to his busy schedule for IPL / BCCI, but one must do it for his safety…. (not only for accident, but hygienic concern also) The road here (SH-22) is in its worst conditions……. from the last three years….. I am watching this……. No progress….nothing….. if rain falls….and a bus passes by your small vehicle….Get ready to take a dip in the muddy water…. along with your well washed….. car. Maybe Hamirpur’s “Sadak wala Mukhyamantri” is too much busy in Hamirpur…… only… but he must also think of the state…. I know thats Hamirpur is his constituency (vote bank)….. but we people are also some what for him…….. I have full regards to all the leaders….. who are chosen by us…… and who might be working…… to their best for the state. But please also think of the main life line of the state…..roadways…… cause we are not having the network of the railways…… . I totally am agreement with Dr. Rajan Sushant’s actions for the development of railway sector as he has demonstrated at Jawali……. All our state ministers must stand beside him…..rather than pulling jhis leg …… I don’t have tooo much of knowledge about the politics….. So no one must take it to their self….. but its my opinion….. and I stick to it. Thanks a Lot…. Jai Bharat, Jai Himachal.

  • Government of HP is right in not improving the quality of roads as it may lead to high speed, and can cause large no of road accidents, plus tourists who come to the state can have a feel of rural tourism in HP . We would also have some new tourism schemes like “Har Sadak ka Gadda kuch kehta Hai ” which I believe would be a great hit among tourists.Those who believe the roads are too bad can always opt for the Heli Taxi Option………..Ha ha ha ha….

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