11 years on, Kiratpur-Manali 4-lane project hangs fire : The Tribune India

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11 years on, Kiratpur-Manali 4-lane project hangs fire

Tourism industry representatives want Mandi candidates to take up the issue in right earnest

11 years on, Kiratpur-Manali 4-lane project hangs fire

When the highway is completed, it will shorten distance between Kiratpur and Manali by 37 km.

Tribune News Service

Dipender Manta

Mandi, May 26

The poor condition of the Kiratpur-Manali highway between Mandi, Kullu and Manali is a key issue, particularly for tourism stakeholders in the Mandi parliamentary constituency. The highway is lifeline of the tourism industry of Kullu and Manali and Lahaul and Spiti. Those associated with the tourism industry say that the candidates should talk about such public issues instead of vilifying each other.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) started the work on widening of this highway in 2013 but it is yet to be completed. The NHAI had divided the project in five sections — Kiratpur-Nerchowk, Nerchowk-Pandoh, Pandoh-Takoli, Takoli-Kullu and Kullu-Manali — for the construction purpose. Of the five sections, the NHAI had completed construction on three sections — Kiratpur-Nerchowk, Takoli-Kullu and Kullu-Manali — last year, while the work on the Nerchowk-Pandoh and the Pandoh-Takoli sections was underway.

The people associated with the tourism industry in Mandi, Kullu-Manali and Lahaul and Spiti are happy over the completion of the three sections of this highway as it will reduce the travelling time considerably between Chandigarh and Manali.

They are awaiting the completion of the work on the remaining two sections as, when completed, the highway will help facilitate tourist arrival to the popular tourist destinations. Last year, the monsoon fury had wreaked havoc in Mandi, Kullu and Manali and damaged this highway badly between Mandi and Manali. The Mandi-Pandoh road stretch of this highway remained blocked for months. This year, the NHAI restored the highway temporarily for traffic to resume, but it is still in a bad condition at many places between Mandi and Manali.

Recently, for the maintenance of this highway between Mandi and Pandoh, the district administration had announced that it would remain closed for a few hours every day for almost a week. Budhi Prakash, a hotelier in Manali, says that this road is the lifeline of the tourism industry but unfortunately it is still incomplete. The blockage on the highway during the tourist season will have an adverse impact at a time when the tourism industry had already suffered huge losses in the past. The candidates of both BJP and Congress should discuss this issue, he demanded.

Anup Thakur, president of the Kullu-Manali Paryatak Vikas Mandal, and Gajender Thakur, state president of the Federation of Himachal Hotels and Restaurant Association, say that the poor condition of the Kiratpur-Manali road is a major public issue. The BJP and Congress candidates should clear their stand on what they will do to get this road project completed in a time-bound manner if they are elected from the Mandi Lok Sabha seat.

The NHAI is executing the four-lane highway project that will shorten the distance between Kiratpur, which lies on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, and Manali from 232 km to 195 km.

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#Kullu #Lahaul and Spiti #Manali #Mandi

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