Mandi, July 23
The inauguration of the Kiratpur-Nerchowk road stretch of Kiratpur-Manali highway has been delayed due to a massive damage to the highway by the flooded Beas between Mandi and Manali. Around 16 km of the road stretch was damaged at different locations between Mandi and Manali, where construction work had been completed by the National Highways Authority of India earlier.
The major damage to the highway has occurred between Patlikuhal and Manali in Kullu district, where a few stretches of road have been washed completely away by the flooded Beas.
The Kiratpur-Manali fourlane road project was divided into five sections for the construction work by the NHAI. Of the five sections, the construction work on three sections — Kullu-Manali road stretch, Takoli-Kullu stretch and Kiratpur-Nerchowk stretch — was completed by the NHAI, while construction work was under way on the Nerchowk-Pandoh road stretch and the Pandoh-Takoli road stretch.
The state BJP leadership was keen on getting the Kiratpur-Nerchowk road stretch inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi or Union Minister Nitin Gadkari soon after its completion to get political mileage for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections scheduled next year. Leader of Opposition Jai Ram Thakur had inspected the Kiratpur-Manali highway last month to give feedback to the Central leadership about the progress of this project.
Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla also inspected this highway last month to take stock of the progress of work.
But the rain disaster in Himachal, especially in Kullu-Manali and Mandi, has delayed the inauguration of this road project. Now the NHAI would focus on restoration of this highway between Mandi and Manali. Though the highway has been restored temporarily between Mandi and Manali, it will take months for the NHAI to throw open the Kullu-Manali section for smooth traffic. The flooded Beas has caused losses worth crores to the NHAI due to a massive damage to the highway between Mandi and Manali.
Varun Chari, project director of the NHAI, Kiratpur-Manali fourlane project, revealed that around 16-km road stretch has been damaged between Mandi and Manali on this highway. A central committee will visit Himachal to assess the loss caused to this road project.
Toll plaza shut
- Mandi DC has issued orders to shut down the Takoli toll plaza on the Kiratpur-Manali highway for a month
- The highway has been damaged at multiple locations between Mandi and Manali due to the recent flashfloods
- People have been reportedly resenting toll collection because the highway is not fully functional
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