Road Rot

Decades on, poor road infra bane of Khemkaran residents

Condition of 50-km-long Khemkaran-Asr National Highway is also deplorable

Decades on, poor road infra bane of Khemkaran residents

A truck stops midway due to dilapidated state of a road in Khemkaran area. Photo Gurbaxpuri

Gurbaxpuri

Tarn Taran, October 17

Over 70 years have elapsed since the country gained Independence but residents of Khemkaran border area are still waiting for civic amenities. Their area still cries for proper road connectivity. The condition of link roads in the area always remains in bad shape. Besides, the condition of the 50-km-long Khemkaran-Amritsar National Highway is also deplorable, adding to the residents’ worries.

Earlier, it was known as the Khemkaran-Amritsar state highway. Eight years ago, the highway was upgraded as the national highway with its width being increased from 22 feet to 33 feet. This highway project is still far from completion. The road has become a lifeline for border area residents. Thousands of residents travel daily from the area to Amritsar and vice-versa. These include students, employees, farmers, traders, etc.

Sahib Singh, a resident of the area, said people welcomed the project of the national highway as the road has been given divider facility which was to make the highway an accident-free zone. He said the part of the highway from Bhikhiwind to Khemkaran, which has been completed, was neither properly designed nor built as sewerage water of villages could be seen accumulated in the Bhikhiwind, Amarkot and Cheema parts of the highway.

This defect was raised during the district-level officials’ meeting presided over by then Deputy Commissioner many times last year but the highways authorities paid no heed as a result of which residents are facing troubles.

Arsal Singh Sandhu, state president of the Border Area Kisan Sangharsh Committee, said there was hardly any link road which was in good shape and smooth. He said that the link roads — Bhagwanpur to Makhi Kalan, Makhi Kalan to Dialpur, Algon Kalan to Kalsian with Margindpur-Bhagwanpur, Mehmoodpur to Maddar, Maddar to Van, Assal to Machhike-Rattoke, Tahli Chaunk to Manawan, Bhura Kona to Noorwala, Bhuram Kona to Bhura Karimpura, Valtoha to Bahadur Nagar, Khemkaran to Mehindipur, etc — had not been repaired over the years.

Daljit Singh of Dialpur village said it was the routine work of the PWD that it took years to lay bitumen after the first layer of stoning on the link roads in the area which forced the residents to change their route to reach their destinations by covering miles. He said it was this due to the bad condition of link roads that private bus operators were unwilling to ply their buses along these routes. As a result, residents faced conveyance problem and found it difficult to go to nearby townships for shopping and other works.

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