The slow pace of work on the four-laning project of the Pathankot-Amritsar national highway is going to miss yet another deadline, which was last extended from July 2013 to July 2014.
Deputy commissioner Sukhvinder singh on Thursday had a meeting with project director Vipnesh Sharma who has sought extension of another two months (till September-end) to complete the project.
Talking to HT after the meeting, he said, "I have pulled them up and asked them to finish the four-laning of the highway at the earliest. Let us wait for another two months".
The delay is causing many accidents daily as on several points where single road is being used, the chances of collision are high. Also, the sudden turns on the road, which have no warning sign boards, are also posing high risk to the commuters who assume a straight road ahead.
The journey from Pathankot to Amritsar on this one of the most dangerous stretches on the national highway tests the skills of the drivers as they never get a chance to relax even for a moment.
The `705-crore four-laning project of this highway involves construction of five railway over-bridges, 14 under-passes, 5 flyovers, 4 major bridges and 6 minor bridges on this 102 km stretch. Meanwhile, Dinanagar bypass bridge over Zhako Lahri railway crossing and a bridge over Kotli canal are yet to be finished.
The private buses plying from Pathankot to Amritsar chase each other like cat and mouse and their drivers seem least bothered about the lives of the people.
This deadly race, despite having claimed many lives, including those of the drivers, has failed to calm down the adrenaline of the drivers who continue to speed up to overtake the bus running ahead of them even as the incomplete work on the road adds to the risk factor.
The drivers of overloaded long-body trucks, carrying sand and gravel, also seem to be in a hurry to avoid any checking on the road, disregarding the risk of accidents in the process.
The terror of buses continues during the daytime, while trucks have their way throughout night, making it a killer highway.
"We have deployed two highway patrol parties which have alcometers, modern communication equipments and alert officers," said DSP (rural) Prabhjot Singh Virk, who looks after this most dangerous part of the national highway.
He said that though lack of the traffic sense among the drivers is the major reason behind the large number of accidents, the incomplete road also adds to their troubles. The locals keep on roaming on the road while bikers often take sudden turns on the highway, leading to accidents, he added.
The DSP said that the speeding buses and overloaded trucks are also responsible for these accidents on which the police are cracking hard.
BD Chugh, president of Jan Jagran Manch, said the work on the highway should be finished at the earliest. "Also, the people living near highways must be educated about the rules to be followed on the roads. The students should be told to educate illiterate residents in this regard," he added.