An enquiry report has already been sent to Himachal Pradesh government owing to ignored specifications of road construction in Kangra District; however, no action has been taken up until now. According to the Public Works Department, a probe was already ordered during August 2007 after the then state government received a large number of complaints about bad roads from tourists and local people. Reports say that the roads in this district were made of sub-standard materials. These roads lead to Dharamshala from Malan. The issue has already been raised in Vidhan Sabha, however, without any positive outcome.
The repairing works of roads were executed under the then Chief Minister Vibhadra Singh. Nonetheless, within a year, there were craters and big potholes. The conditions further deteriorated when the tar was washed away in rain. The roads were repaired by two private companies under the supervision of the Public Works Department. The Central government had allocated Rs 17 Crore for the reconstruction of these roads.
Even in Hyderabad, the roads and buildings (R&B) are confronted with a task of developing almost 150 km of stretch which are maintained by the department. K Jaipal Reddy, R&B executive engineer, stated that immediate measures should be taken to repair the roads and prevent it from getting washed away in rain. In addition, the roads had to be improved in such a way that it becomes resistant to rain as well. The survey “Hyderabad Beautification Programme” is part of the project which aims at developing and improving the conditions of these roads. Sources say that due to heavy downpours the thickness of roads has been significantly reduced and it has gone beyond tolerance levels.
Another heavy rain shower would wash away the tar. Because of the road conditions on this stretch, almost 200 accidents took place in 2009 and around 250 road accidents in 2010. According to the ‘Hyderabad Beautification Programme,’ roads should be developed and thickness should be increased every five years thereafter. Because of the lack of fruitful development work on bad roads, the R&B has decided to partner up with Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) at a proposed amount of Rs 500 Crore.
Apart from heavy showers, increasing traffic load has also led to the erosion of the roads. During a seminar on ‘Sustainable Construction Practices and Prospects, run by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, a highway official with World Bank LR Kadiyali, stated, “The magnitude of annual economic loss due to overloading and poor road maintenance is alarming.” He also added, “Inadequate width, poor geometrics, pathetic riding quality and inadequate pavement thickness are the other problems.” Going ahead, he stressed that it is highly important to develop rigid roads with concrete instead of just the conventional bituminous roads.
Often, absence of footpaths coupled with narrow lanes creates menace as well. Kadiya adds that it is equally important to reconstruct highways so they can bear the stress from the high number of trucks and big vans driving on them. Bad geometrics, poor travelling quality and inadequate thickness of pavements are all issues that need to be addressed immediately. The support of the Ministry of State for Surface Transport in India in association with the municipalities of the villages is also key in the overall development of roads in the country.