Kullu Manali highway cries for repair as tourist season sets in

 Shimla: The summer tourist season has almost set in but the highway (National Highway No 21) is in a state of utter neglect here.

 Though, the local municipal council has made efforts to maintain the streets, lanes and by-lanes in the town but it is main highway  that connects Manali with the outside world by road which is in a pathetic condition.

The local bypass road, which includes a 20 Kms stretch from Ibex Chowk right up to Patlikuhal village is in a dilapidated condition with the public works authorities not having made any preparation to repair it.

 This road stretch has developed pits and large potholes on the road which has been causing  great hardships to daily commuters and tourist is particular, who drive into Manali for a comfortable outing.

The road stretch is crying for immediate repair and a fresh coat of bitumen as only heavy dust greets tourists before one gets to Manali in the belief that one would be spending a well earned holiday in the serene environs of the valley.

Local authorities must pay attention to the poor condition of roads at this world renowned tourist destination so that tourists are not put to inconvenience”, Suman Gupta, a tourist from Jammu let Hill Post know.

Getting to rough it out on the bad roads, Gupta added that bad roads would certainly  adversely affect the inflow of  tourists to Manali.

Road conditions along local Piccadily Hotel, right before the HP Public Works office, the judicial court complex and local police station are also in a miserable conditions,

Road stretches are proving very risky for commuters on the highway at vulnerable sliding portions close to Chhiyal village and near Bahnu Bridge where even during fair weather days large boulders do roll down on the road and disrupt traffic frequently.

Some road stretches on the highway were either swept away by a swirling River Beas or were severely damaged in last year’s July-September rainy season but the repairs are yet to be carried.

Joginder Rana,  a fruit grower from Karjan village said, “a bad road for the ensuing fruit harvest is bound to hamper the smooth transportation of marketing of  the highly perishable fruit produce from Manali.”

When contacted  Prem Anand, Sub Divisional Officer HPPWD(National Highway) said that a mixing  plant  at  Manali  would be  installed soon to carry out repair and  the patch work on the  National highway soon.

He went onto add that two other mixing plants are be  installed at Potato Ground  and 15 Miles point for carrying out the repair work of the National Highway.

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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