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 doesnâ€™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.
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 havenâ€™t the affected people shown their anger in the past three years .
Why hasnâ€™t the opposition Congress the CPIM and farmer bodies even protested strongly outside the state secretariat .
Why havenâ€™t they mustered courage to storm into the PWD minister Gulab Singhâ€™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 !