National Highway – 22 (NH 22) happens to be the life line of Shimla hills. This road is also known as the Hindustan Tibet Road. The road connects Shimla with Rampur and Kinnaur and is of a strategic importance as it is the main supply route to the armed forces stationed at the Tibetian border. This road is also of economic importance as trucks carrying apple from Kinnaur and Shimla districts to outside the state use this road. The road has been in a state of neglect for the past 10 years. Which ever govt has been in power, be it the Congress or BJP, none had bothered to repair the highway ever. I use this highway till Narkanda, a distance of 64 km from Shimla which under normal conditions should not take more than 1.5 hours but it takes 3 hours to cover a distance of 64 km in a car. Here are a few pictures I clicked traveling on the road.
The journey throughout is on the kutcha roads. If you happen to be a tourist reading this drop this sector from your travel route. You will remember me later if you still prefer to travel on this route. State of highways is the same across all over the state as this report in The Tribune mentions about another highway. The main problem I feel why the govt is not able to repair the highways in Himachal Pradesh is that the entire fund meant for repairs is spent on the salaries of the employees. These employees in Himachal Pradesh are paid like kings with no accountability. There is a special NH division in the PWD deptt. which has a Chief Engineer at it’s helm and with a loads of Xen, SDO, JE and a full battalion of employees who grab the entire funds in form of salaries and common people have to travel on such roads. Do you think in a right state of mind these employees need to be paid at all considering the pitiable condition of the road? Why can’t this road be handed over to the Army. If you ever travel on the alternate all weather road to Kinnaur via Basantpur and Kingal you will know what I am talking about. This road is maintained by the Army and see the stark difference in the quality of the work done by the Army chaps.
Shame on all these people and shame to people like me who religiously vote in every election thinking that things would eventually change!! The politicians, their favorite contractors and the corrupt and in-efficient govt. babus have all taken the public for a royal ride.