Telecom companies destroying Himachal roads frustrates tourists, residents

Manali: Kullu – Manali residents are frustrated as telecom companies have again begun digging roads to lay new 4G communication cables as the state governm, government fails to create permanent underground utility ducts to prevent frequent destruction of roads.

As roads of kullu district are already in a derelict condition for want of blacktopping and repair, the digging carried out by telecom companies made them unsuitable for travel both for tourist and locals, and moreover it gives an ugly look to the valley.

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Many residents say that at times it seems the ‘government is preparing the valley for war and digging trenches to fight enemy’.

In other countries the companies are using modern technology to lay cables without digging the roads. In our country have exceptionally failed to insist the companies to utilize such technologies to save the road infrastructure. Although PM Modi has emphasized on strengthen the infrastructures of road network in the country.

“It’s frustrating at times to see well-laid roads being destroyed by using JCBs and labourers. We feel helpless as there is no policy to stop the repeated digging,” said Rajesh Sharma, a resident of Manali

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The mockery is that the companies are not repairing the roads after laying cables resulting in roads remaining dug up for several months. Residents allege that the construction agencies leave the roads dug up for several months, putting them to great inconvenience. These roads also become a cause for frequent accidents.

“There is some inherent problem in our system which does not want to see clear roads. They are happy in first constructing these and then destroying them. There is no urban planning,” said Munish Sharma, a university student, while pointing towards condition of roads at Kullu Manali left bank.

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Accepting that underground ducts are a necessity, PWD, SDO Manali Hans Raj Bhardwaj said, “We have submitted a proposal and hopefully funds will be released in the coming months. However, we cannot stop telecom companies from laying cables by digging roads as it would hinder internet and mobile telephony.”

One will not find a place in the Kullu district where the digging work is not going on. This results in traffic jams, besides causing a lot of problems for pedestrians, who walk through the area. Problem is more during the morning and evening hours.

Pankaj Thakur while speaking to Hill Post said that his house was turned down to ashes few days back when a fire broke out in his house, He added due to digged roads fire tender reached late due to which they could not save any belongings.

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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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