MANALI: With rising fatal vehicle collisions and stray animal-related accidents, the newly widened Kullu-Manali national highway is becoming a death trap for motorists.
While these vehicles vroom past each other on the smooth roads, the hundreds of sharps turns along the highway could very much end the speeding thrill in accidents.
Every day, at least one accident is being reported on the highway. As a large number of animals are also being killed in these accidents, their carcasses can be seen lying along the dangerous stretch. Besides strays, lack of footpath also endangers pedestrians,who are forced to walk on the highway.
Though a boon to connectivity, the NHAI (National Highway Authority of India) creation is rife with sharp turns, including some 90-degree turns and hairpin bends, which need utmost focus while negotiating.
There are large numbers of schools along the highway and students remain under threat from the fast moving vehicles. Because of this, Government Senior Secondary School, Bran, was forced to close its main gate opening to the highway for the safety of students.
“Once when coming back from Manali, I hit my bike on something as I couldn’t see the road ahead due to the high-beamed cars coming from the other side. I fell and sustained injuries and on getting up I realized I had hit a stray cow which was sitting on the road. I was rushed to the hospital by my friends,” said Rajender Sharma said.
Due to snowfall in the high-altitude grazing lands, cattle have come down to the towns and are sleeping on the warm road in the night. Drivers fail to see them in the dark and collide with them.
The high court had ordered the state government to provide shelters for stray cattle and keep them away from the roads. However, cattle are still roaming freely on the such highways.
Transport minister Govind Singh Thakur said not obeying traffic rules was causing most of the accidents. “We shall do something to restrict the speed limit on the highway so that nobody drives beyond the permissible limit. The concerned administrations have been asked to take all the cattle to pounds and government is providing all possible help to run these shelters,” he said.