Shimla April, 20; The 60-km-long stretch between Ferach Pul and Minus along the Tons on the Hatkoti-Tyuni-Guma-Paonta Sahib national highway has become a killer road that falls in Chopal and Shillai areas as more than 60 persons had been killed, including 46 killed today, in three accidents for the last three years. As many as 12 persons were killed when an HRTC bus going from Nerwa to Dhar Chanana fell into a gorge near Antravali on the Ferach-Antravali-Guma road three years ago.
Four from Rohru were killed on this road last year when their car skidded off the road and fell into the Tons.But the PWD, NHAI and HRTC learnt no lessons and made no efforts to improve the condition of the road despite a high rate of fatalities. This has made “all talks of road safety and safe public transport in the state” sounds hollow, rued accident victims.Though the police are yet to ascertain the exact cause of today’s accident, locals, including accident victims, blame poor condition of road and plying of ‘khatara’ buses on this road.
The government had declared it a national highway in 2008, but it was only in name, resented Hira Singh and Bitu, villagers of Antravali. The HRTC and private operators from Uttarakhand and Himachal ran khatara buses and passengers travelled on roof tops of buses, they added.The stretch between Kuddu-Tyuni- Atahal falls in Uttarakhand, while Ferach-Antravali-Guma-Minus, the accident-prone stretch, falls in Chopal and Shillai with the Tons acted like a boundary between the two states.
This road was full of potholes and had many narrow bends and curves that added to the risk of mishaps, said Katar Banchta, a resident of Shantha Chopal, who had lost his cousin sister, a nephew and a niece in two separate mishaps.
Chief Engineer, national highways, Bhuvan Sharma said the Hatkoti-Tyuni-Guma-Paonta road was declared the national highway in 2008, but the ministry did not provide fund for this. “We are widening the road and a proposal under the road safety project is being submitted to the NHAI to get funds as it was notified as the NH three years ago by the ministry”, he added.
Source Tribune India