The Bharatiya Janata Party has urged the state government to make provision for separate service ducts on national, state and other roads to avoid damage caused installation of telephone and electricity cables besides trenching for water supply and sewer lines.
Nahan MLA Rajiv Bindal introduced a private members' resolution in the legislative assembly on Thursday, suggesting the government should make provision for separate service ducts for laying cables and poles alongside roads.
"It's a serious matter that requires the government's attention. Repeated digging of roads is making them more prone to accidents.
Usually contractors given trenching works dig along the side of a hill or valley, which affects the roads. Digging on a hillside results in sliding and while if it's done along the of a valley it damages the retaining wall. In both cases it's the road that is damaged. The government should formulate an action plan," said Bindal, who was joined by BJP Nachan MLA Vinod Kumar who endorsed the private members' resolution.
Churah legislator Hans Raj made references to the major roads that were damaged by digging. Former public works department minister Gulab Singh also joined issue, urging the government to make separate lanes for services in proposed new road projects.
Bindal demanded the state should seek funding from central government agencies for resolving the issue. "The previous government had also pondered over the idea of separate ducts for services. Large-scale digging works were undertaken to lay telecom cables when Sukh Ram, the central cabinet minister at the time, usher in reforms in the telecom sector," he added.
Sarkaghat MLA Inder Singh said separate ducts would also help in curbing electricity and telephone cable theft. Himachal Lokhit Party chief Maheshwar Singh said digging of channels for services had opened another avenue for the PWD department to earn more revenue from telecom companies and the government department.
However, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who also holds the public works portfolio, said though he appreciated the idea it was not possible for setting up ducts since 33,736 kilometers of roads had already been built in the state. "Most rural roads are either funded by NABARD or constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sarak Yojana where the landowners provided land of their own free will, since the width of the roads is narrower," he added.
Bindal later withdrew the private members' resolution.