Highway neglect gives tourist a bumpy ride to Kullu – Manali

Manali: Tourists for the last many years are having to put up with a rough and bumpy ride into the Kullu-Manali valley as the highway (National Highway – 21) is dire need of repair and maintenance, but continues to be neglected by the concerned authorities.

Stretches of the highway that were swept away in the 1995 flash floods, though were temporarily repaired but road engineers have not realigned the highway nor carried out timely repair between Raison village and Himachal Tourism camping site.

A large number of houses at Kalath, Alu ground and Patlikuhal village had been washed away in the 1995 natural calamity because of cloud bursts in the valley.

Gushing waters had caused heavy earth erosion on this road stretch that has been neglected ever since and continues to be infested with potholes and boulders lying along the road that at times does even disrupt vehicular traffic.

During monsoon rains, every year, this stretch of the national highway gets submerged in river water and is declared unsafe for movement of light and heavy vehicles.

Orchard owners and fruit traders too face problems in meeting the demand of markets for speedy transportation of their produce due to the bad road conditions.

“ We have sent a proposal to the government, with an estimated budget, for relaying of the road stretch between Raison and Camping site”, said a HPPWD ( NH) engineer.

Even the National Highway Authority, of India (NHAI) has surveyed the road portion and has estimated and expenditure of spending Rs 5 to 6 crores for raising the road level and protecting it from the fury of the river, said the engineer.

Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice. He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express. With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology. Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.

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