Tribune News Service
Mandi, September 27
Long traffic jams on the Mandi-Kullu highway via the Kataula route are a routine affair these days.
In view of the bad conditions of the Chandigarh-Manali highway, tourists and locals are preferring alternative route via Kataula to visit Kullu from Mandi.
Anish Gupta, a tourist from Delhi, said, “The journey on the Chandigarh-Manali highway is tedious due to poor condition of the road. There are potholes on the way from Sundernagar up to Aut between Mandi and Kullu.”
“The alternative route is also in a bad shape. Besides, the route is quite narrow and steep. On return from Kullu to Mandi, we preferred the alternative route but in the midway at Kandi, we got stuck in a long traffic jam today,” he said.
Mohan Singh, a driver from Kullu, said, “Due to the bad condition of the highway, vehicles require maintenance work regularly, which is a costly affair. The National Highways Authority of India should speed up the fourlaning of the Chandigarh-Manali route.”
He said the alternative route should be widened on a priority to ensure smooth flow of traffic. Hoteliers of Kullu district have urged the state government to improve the condition of the roads and enhance air connectivity to attract high-end tourists to Kullu-Manali. They said the poor road infrastructure was a big jolt for the tourism industry.
Anup Thakur, president of the Hoteliers Association, Kullu-Manali, said, “We met Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur several times to apprise him about the poor condition of the road. We urged him to improve the road network.”
The tourism industry is the backbone of the economy of the people of Kullu district, which provides them employment.
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