Built by a 16th-century emperor, the city's most important road is the nightmare of 21st-century commoners.
Roads define the city. A developed town has good roads, while broken tracks speak of inefficient administration. By this measure, Gurdaspur must be one of the most poorly administered places.
The Grand Trunk Road, also called Sher Shah Suri Marg, for it was built by emperor Sher Shah Suri, has lost all its grandness. Now part of a national highway, it supports heavy traffic round the clock. Once the backbone of the emperor's postal and communication system, it now gives sore back to drivers, thanks to all the bumps.
The water accumulated on it all the time has eroded the road, leaving big potholes that can be spotted even from the other side of the railway crossing towards Pathankot. The ruts have caused hundreds of horrible accidents, yet the patch has not been repaired for the past 18 months. Good business for Natha Singh, who runs a garage nearby. "Even at odd hours, I keep getting telephone calls about accidents and breakdowns on the road becuase of its condition. Any vehicle part can get damaged becaue of the jolts," he said.
The drivers who take this road for the first time meet waterlogged sections that are deeper than expected. At Post Office Chowk, Purani Mandi, Kahnuwan Chowk and Milk Plant, the road has the same pitiable condition. The condition of the less important roads is anybody's guess.
The road separating the district judicial complex and the office of the senior superintendent of police is a big pool of water. The public works department was aware, confirmed subdivisional engineer Harjinder Singh, but put the blame on the rains. "We are waiting for funds to begin repair," he said.