Poor roads in Shimla city
The Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur might have directed the government officials to fix the roads damaged in monsoon within 10 days, but there seems no respite on the ground level. The best example is the capital city of Shimla and its surrounding areas.

The roads in the International tourist destination are yet again in tatters, filled with large potholes, which are unavoidable for drivers. The monsoon rains have also washed away the fresh tarring that was undertaken a few months back. Moreover, the disaster management has also toppled opposed to the claims of the State Government as well as the National Highway Authority of India.

The NHAI and State Government did not even show up to properly clear debris brought down on road by minor landslips or overflowing Nallahs. The contractors are now blaming it on the NHAI.

The situation has become bad to worse after the NHAI has taken charge of all National Highways,

said a contractor while his labour filled potholes on NH-5 with loose soil or muck.

Mud pool on NH-5 due to blocked drainage

The retaining wall on the road to the State High Court has caved in at least twice within a month. The administration seems to be blank on taking preventive measures after the first landslide.

The Shoghi-Mehli bypass is again closed for several days after a massive landslide. The road had remained closed for about three days earlier last month too. As per the Deputy Commissioner of Shimla, Amit Kashyap, it could take about three weeks to open the road to traffic. The apple growers are worse hit as this road used to be their lifeline in the peak season.

A large number of major and minor landslides have also damaged the roads and choked the roadside drainage system, which is leading to more damage.

The National Highway -5 (Shimla-Chandigarh) is also giving drivers a nightmare as large potholes had appeared during the monsoon. The Shimla-Dhali bypass is in the poorest state. Tarring on most of the road length is washed away, leaving behind large potholes and loose gravel. Dust clouds are making the lives of people living along the bypass and those running their shops or business along with it a hell.

Dust clouds causing dust pollution and lowering road visibility

The dust has covered everything as it is entering their houses/shops and settling on every object they have.

I can’t keep my windows or doors open because of the enormous dust that keeps rising from the road (bypass). I avoid washing clothes because I can’t hang them outside to dry,

Rajani Verma – a resident of Phagali- told The News Himachal (TNH).

Poor shimla roads
Dust covers vehicles parked on roadsides in Shimla

The shopkeepers and vegetable stall owners are also forced to snort dust entire day while they struggle to keep their commodities, vegetables, fruits etc. clean.

I keep dusting my vegetables entire day. I sprinkle water on the road to avoid dust, but it doesn’t take more than half an hour for the road to get dry again,

a vegetable stall owner told THN.

The dust is choking people who daily wait for their buses on stops. It ruins their clothes and makes them stand with their mouths covered. The poor visibility due to dust clouds is another major road safety concern for drivers, especially two-wheelers.

I travel to and fro everyday from New ISBT, Shimla, to my office in Kasumpti on my bike. The entire length is in ruins and there is no count of potholes. By the time I reach Kasumpti, I find myself coughing while dusting my clothes covered in thick layer of dust. It’s becoming impractical to ride a bike on this road, so I have decided not to use the bypass until it is fixed,

said Kamal Dev – a resident of Tutikandi.

Crowded markets in prime locations like the BCS and Khalini are also bearing the brunt of poor quality road maintenance or no maintenance at all. Earlier, the public was facing potholes filled with mud and now the combination of potholes and dust posing a serious challenge.

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