•  Laying The Carpet for Good Roads – The Golden Quadrilateral – Mrs Vikram (A reader)

    Indian roads, a decade back may have been a roller coaster ride thus saving us a trip to the amusement park to experience it. But with the launch of the dream project Golden Quadrilateral by the then NDA government headed by Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Indian roads became a pleasure to explore, atleast the highways.

    Beyond Boundaries, It’s Six! 

    The golden quadrilateral is said to be the fifth longest highway project in the world covering a stretch of 5,846kms. New express highways were constructed and existing roads were expanded from four to six lane. The golden quadrilateral project paved way for the state highways department to smoothen the path leading to various villages and towns. Many states in India can now boast of good and smooth road network. The human citizen in me feels proud of this and always boasts to my contacts abroad that Indian roads are as good as any road abroad.

     Road to Ranipet. Raining Pot holes!

     The human citizen in me is a frequent traveller on the Chennai – Ranipet road; the human citizen was in for a rude shock after the 2015 Chennai floods. The bumper rides began then and continue until date. For the initial few months after the rain, the human citizen convinced herself that it would take a while to lay the roads as the damage caused was huge. Every passing trip came in as a rude shock as the roads didn’t seem to get better.

    ‘Potholes have Roads in India’ – Shri AB Vajpayee

    Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee once said, “Our roads don’t have a few potholes. Our potholes have a few roads.” (Courtesy – http://knowledgeofindia.com). When the toll collector was questioned on the bad condition, he had nothing to reply. He asked the human citizen to approach the higher authority. Who is the higher authority?

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    Death by Pothole – In India’s ‘Richest’ City and elsewhere

    Mumbai, Maharashtra is India’s richest Municipal Corporation. If we go by its budget/revenues generated. But even here, we see deaths because of potholes. It is not uncommon to see a major injury/accident or death per flyover (even on flyovers) during or post monsoons especially due to potholes.   
    It is not as if pot holes are not seen in developed economies. But their rates of occurance are low. Also, the way the administration responds and the corrective and preventive actions taken are professional.
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    Pothole on New York’s Second Avenue image courtesy: Wikimedia.org

    The Way the Taxes Toll

    The human citizen in me raised these doubts
    Am I not told that the tax collected is to improve the overall infrastructure?
    Why is a toll fee being collected?
    Should not the toll fee vary for construction and later maintenance? Should not the
    toll fee reduce after the money spent on laying roads is recovered and now when
    money is being spent only on maintenance?
    Why are different private toll collectors managing the toll road between a stretch of 120km (approx) ?
    The human citizen understands that every toll cannot be manned and
    maintained by the government. But why is the private player (in the stretch
    mentioned above) who is failing to maintain the road, collecting the toll fee?
    Why should the NHAI put up with toll collectors who don’t maintain roads?
    Why should the human citizen put up with bad roads in spite of paying a toll?
    Will we ever experience the pot hole free road again?
    The Human Citizen in me prefers roller coaster rides in amusement parks and not while driving on our roads!!! What about you?
    (Mrs Vikram is a regular reader of NewsTikka.com We thank her for sharing her views which we believe will resonate with all right thinking, tax paying citizens)