Commuters on the 32-km stretch of the Kotkapura-Muktsar road, to be built under a Rs 65-crore project under build operate and transfer (BOT) basis, are facing problems due to earth dug up along the route to widen the motorway about two months ago.
As one moves from Kotkapura to Muktsar, the earth on the right side of the road has been dug out which is one to two feet deep, leaving no space for drivers of vehicles to manoeuvre through heavy traffic on the busy road.
"From Kotkapura to Muktsar, the unmetalled stretch along the road has been excavated, leaving lesser space to drive on. This has made travelling on the stretch risky. An accident can happen any time. The contractor should excavate the road in a phased manner and built it at the earliest possible time to prevent inconvenience to commuters," said Arvinderpal Singh of Wander Jatana village.
One Sukhmander Singh, a farmer from Khara village, ended up with a fractured leg and head injury in an accident caused by the excavation done on the road.
"I was returning home on my bullock cart with fodder two weeks ago. I had to traverse only about two km to reach home from fields. I was already on the verge of the metalled road and there was no space to move further away due to excavated stretch. All of a sudden, a car appeared from the opposite direction even as a bus tried to speed through. The bus hit the cart, throwing me down into the fields," said Sukhmander Singh.
"Now the narrow road has become riskier to travel since there is no space left along the road to travel on," he added.As the earth along the road has been excavated, the contractor has placed bags filled with sand on the edges to warn commuters, but these bags occupy another two feet of road space," pointed out Harman Singh of Wara Daraka village located on Kotkapura-Muktsar road, 7 km from Kotkapura.
Ajaypal Brar of Wara Daraka village said that occupants of small vehicles were at risk since drivers of heavy vehicles did not care about their safety.
The area people demanded that excavations should take place in a phased manner and road widening work completed as soon as possible.
When contacted, Baldev Singh, XEN of public works department in Faridkot, said, "The work on the road is on and we have started widening of bridges too. The earth along the road had to be excavated since metalling work requires laying of different layers of concrete and sand which also requires watering and pressing."
He however denied that excavation had been done along the entire stretch of the road and claimed that laying of first layer of concrete has already been taken up. "The work is to be completed in 18 months; so it will take some time," said Baldev Singh.
On the other hand, Gora Singh of Khara village claimed that no construction anywhere on the stretch had been started. Arvinderpal of Wander Jatana village claimed that when he travelled up to Muktsar two days ago, work was on near and in Muktsar town only.