One look at this dusty, potholed stretch and it is difficult to believe that in this same state there also exists a swanky world-class 302-km long Agra-Lucknow expressway.
But then, Uttar Pradesh is a land of stark contrasts. And the warts and scabs of its eastern districts come into sharp focus as the region gears up for polling in the last phase on March 8.
The 40-km Tadi Ghat-Bara Road (TB Road) in Ghazipur connects Uttar Pradesh with Bihar and gives travellers a ride they will not forget for a long time. It takes over four hours to cover the dusty stretch that has got the tag of ‘road of craters’.
Mannu Prasad Chaurasia (30), resident of Suhwal village along the road, says, “As far as I can recall, this road has always been like this. Riding a bike or cycle here is a nightmare.”
“If west UP has an expressway, the east has a bumpy way. The chief minister, who often says ‘double the speed, triple the economy’, should travel by this road at least once to experience the bumpy ride and the plight of travellers,” he adds.
Musafir Singh Yadav, resident of Ketakipur, loses his cool as he talks of the poor condition of the road that haunts him daily. He blames local representatives for not making any effort to get it reconstructed.
He says this road is a taste of hell on earth, the dust from its potholes causes respiratory problems .
- Road passes through: Mohammadabad, Jangipur, Zamania
- Seven assembly constituencies
- Four MLAs — Omprakash Singh, Shadab Fatima, Vijay Mishra and Kailash Yadav — were ministers in the Akhilesh cabinet
Asia’s biggest village Gahmar, about 37 kilometres from district headquarters Ghazipur, is located along this road, which passes through three assembly constituencies — Jangipur, Mohammadabad and Zamania.
The legislators from Zamania and Jangipur were ministers in the Akhilesh cabinet. Omprakash Singh, the Zamania MLA, was tourism minister. He was sacked by Akhilesh later.
Kailash Yadav, the Jangipur MLA, was panchayati raj minister. He passed away around a year ago. His wife Kismatiya Devi was elected to the assembly from the same constituency later. Ashish Rai, resident of Gahmar, says, “This road is a victim of politics. Had the four ministers made joint efforts, it would have been constructed by now.”
There are several stretches of 100-500 metres to one kilometre where vehicles are forced to crawl from one crater to another.
Manish Rai, another Gahmar resident, says the road is a nightmare especially for pregnant women and patients. The road is so bumpy that many women have delivered babies on way to the hospital, he claims.
While this highway to hell has made transportation a daily torture for commuters, people also blame it for the lack of development in the region.
“Ghazipur is four kilometres from Suhwal. It takes around 45 minutes to cover the distance. The poor road has stalled all development here,” Says Pramod Ojha. Irfan Khan, a truck owner, draws attention to another aspect. “The bad road burns a hole in our pockets due to the frequent repairs of vehicles.”
Omkar Rai highlights the importance of the highway as it connects UP and Bihar, but is disappointed that it has not caught the attention of the CM who earned praise for construction of the Agra-Lucknow expressway in record time. Former tourism minister Omprakash Singh says, “The state government has sanctioned ?228 crore to construct Tadi Ghat-Bara road following joint efforts by SP MLAs from the district. Work has already begun. The whole stretch will be paved with RCC (concrete).”
Will it be another of those promises that take Ghazipur residents for a ride until the next elections?