What ails Chardham route: bad roads, speeding vehicles, no sync between agencies
Earlier this week, 24 people died when the bus they were travelling while returning from Gangotri plunged into the Bhagirathi river in Uttarkashi.dehradun Updated: May 25, 2017 20:51 IST
For the pilgrims on way to the Chardham, the road to the fabled four Himalayam shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri is always fraught with danger. From disasters induced by rain or other natural causes, to the man-made reasons such as accidents due to rash driving, the pilgrims have to contend with a lot lest the yatra route becomes a death trap for them.
Earlier this week, 24 people died when the bus they were travelling while returning from Gangotri plunged into the Bhagirathi river in Uttarkashi. Prior to that, on May 6, four people died when their vehicle fell into a gorge in Ghansali area of Tehri, while returning from Gangotri.
Even as fingers are being raised at the state government for poor road engineering and lack of coordination between various agencies, the officials and ministers have blamed rash driving, lack of security check and mismanagement as the reasons behind accidents.
Transport minister, Yashpal Arya blamed rash driving as one of the main reasons behind these accidents but added that the “problem of poor infrastructure” too cannot be ruled out.
“We know rash driving is a major cause of accidents. But, poor road engineering also leads to such cases. There’s need of a comprehensive policy as well as coordination between various enforcement agencies,” Arya told Hindustan Times on Thursday.
The police and transport departments so far have failed to check the speed of the vehicles along yatra route. While barriers have been set up at regular intervals where policemen are deployed, examining each and every passing vehicle, officials said, is an impossible task especially as thousands of vehicles enter the state during the yatra season.
Director general of police (DGP) MA Ganpathy hopes that All Weather Roads envisaged by the NDA government at cost of more than ₹11,000 crore would be able to resolve the issue.
“It must be ensured that drivers are granted the hill license only after adequate training,” he said.
“We have to make do with the infrastructure that we have. Once All Weather Roads are in place, there will be no such accidents,” he added.
To maintain coordination between police, transport and public works department (PWD), joint teams have been constituted that would check vehicles passing through Rishikesh -- the gateway to the Chardham --- and at other places on the yatra route.
Speed guns have been installed at various places. The transport department will also check the license of the drivers and allow the vehicles only if they produce fitness certificate.
Apart from the All Weather Road, the NDA government has also envisaged a rail link project to link the four Hindu shrines. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu recently laid the foundation stone in Badrinath for the final location survey of the ambitious ₹43,000-crore project that will enable devotees to visit the shrines even in adverse climatic conditions.