September 17, 2008

On the Road

Once upon a time traveling to the hills must have been fun. I’m not sure anymore. Is this largely due to the exceptional quality of the roads? In the last three months I have frequented non-discrepant villages in Uttarakhand twice and there is a third trip on the anvil. Surprisingly for a state whose Chief Minister was known to be a person who took connecting India by roads rather seriously, UK is blessed with the worst possible roads. 

Gen. Khanduri would surely blame Mother Nature and her fury for the shoddy condition but that’s really nothing compared to what one truly experiences on roads in Uttarakhand. The drive to Dehradun from Delhi is enough to break the toughest of us. That road passes through a state called UP so no real surprises there. But once you enter Uttarkhand you’d expect some relief. 

Hardly the case. 

During my recent visit I was accompanied by a local bloke who gave me the lowdown on everything UK. Dehradun wasn’t anything that he recalled as a kid. Driving through the congested lanes of the town one can’t help but think about the future that is already finding it difficult to park a car or even cross a street. Imagine an entire city carved out of some busy West Delhi suburb and that’s D-Town for you. 

It’s just not the roads or clogging that Dehradun has to worry about. Soon the mall culture is going to set shop and then things would be really bad. The region has really progressed ever since it separated from Uttar Pradesh but seems like they have refused to learn anything from other states and their experiments with stupidity. 

For starters they could have made a new city and operated the administration from a new capital rather than burdening a town that was bursting at its seams. If you could dislocate thousands, submerge an entire town and relocate families all for a dam that according to me serves no real purpose then a new capital shouldn’t have been that big a deal. By the way my take on the Tehri Dam is limited to my subjective view as I couldn’t see anything that the huge thing does. These things would be difficult to achieve as the decision makers like everywhere else in the country are fight for seats. The ballot of a recent election looks like a mega shopping list with symbols like pen, ring, tea set, axe, brick, ladder, jackfruit, tamarind, spectacles and believe it or not Ambassador car!

For a state that greatly relies on tourism connectivity shouldn’t be anything less than a pleasant feeling. The road connecting Chamba via Mussorie and Dhanolti is still motorable but the other one is exactly the stuff nightmares are made of. There’s isn’t any stretch that isn’t laden with potholes. For someone like me who dreads leaving the city but loves the concept of traveling these things matter a lot. For a better part of my road journey I felt like I was in Gurgaon. You really want a picture of what it was like then here goes; picture the worst patch of MG Road and add some hills on one side and a huge valley on the other. And of course this is a mountain road so it will narrower than two SUV’s parked together. 

I could never understand why Indians don’t really do anything permanent or at least concrete about our roads? Remember the earliest tyre advertisements and the words ‘built for Indian roads’ resonating in your ears. What the hell is an Indian road? 

Why the hell hasn’t the concept of world class quality like housing amenities in Indirapuram penetrated this industry!

1 Responses to “On the Road”

  • Maybe they want the destination famous for the difficulty to drive there like the raod to Hana in Hawaii. Tivi
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