Dharamsala, October 3
The 25-km stretch of the Chamba-Saho road, which witnesses frequent mishaps owing to sharp curves, has claimed around 40 lives in the past five years.
Passing along deep gorges, the road lacks crash barriers, leading to a high number of fatalities. At certain points, including Machiali and Sangera, local residents have constructed temples, believing divine intervention to prevent accidents.
Pankaj Chowfla, a resident of Chamba, said two women on a scooter recently lost their lives after they fell into a gorge.
People lose their lives due to accidents on this road every year but enough crash barriers had not been installed, he said.
According to Pankaj, there is a spot on the road at Machiali, near Ladera village, which is prone to accidents. Due to many accidents here, local residents have constructed a temple, believing some divine power would curb road mishaps. The PWD had failed to set up crash barriers near the temple, he added.
Ajay Sharma, another resident of Chamba, said a sharp curve on the road near Sangera had claimed many lives in the past few years. A 500-metre stretch here had some sharp and blind curves, but even then the PWD authorities had not installed crash barriers, he said, adding that mirrors too should be installed along the road to let motorists see the vehicles coming from the opposite side.
Sources in the PWD said the government had recently sanctioned Rs 48 crore for the widening of the road. Forestland had also been acquired by the state government. However, the work for widening the road was progressing at a tardy pace, said local residents. Crash barriers had also been installed at some places along the road, but most of the accident-prone areas were yet to see the same.
The Chamba-Saho village road is vital for the promotion of tourism in the area. Saho village is famous for the Lord Chandershekhar temple, which attracts a large number of tourists.
Chamba Deputy Commissioner DC Rana says the work on road widening has been going on and crash barriers will be installed at the accident-prone points. “Most accidents take place due to rash driving. We are planning to strengthen the deployment of police on the road,” he added.
Divine intervention sought
Due to many accidents, residents have constructed temples, believing some divine power will curb road mishaps. — Pankaj Chowfla, Chamba resident
The road is being widened and crash barriers will be installed. Most of the road accidents take place due to rash driving. — DC Rana, Chamba Deputy Commissioner
PWD sources say the government has recently sanctioned Rs 48 crore for road widening.
Forestland has also been acquired, but the work is progressing at a tardy pace, say local residents.
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