Last few months we had been traveling by road quite a lot. I get delighted to see India getting its road network totally transformed into expressways. While in Kolkata this month we came across the roads that exemplify the evolution. I had an opportunity to pass through three roads-GT Road, NH-2 Highway, and Durgapur Expressway. The three roads tell of the evolution of roads.
We were in Kolkata between January 4 and Jan 8, 2008. After we landed on Dumdum, our taxi went through the expressway that passed through Rajarhat, the prestigious new satellite city that is being developed by Leftist government. However, the expressway was in real poor condition in many stretches, perhaps because of heavy construction work that is going on.
To visit Hind Motor, Konnagar, and Baidybati, we passed through the roads of Kolkata taking the BT road to Dakhineswar, and then turned to GT Road, the historical road built by Sher Shah Suri to Konnagar to meet Anand’s teacher Mrs Lakshman Singh and family. One can hardly tell any thing good or improved about this heritage road because of the state sponsored encroachment of the road. I have seen this happening since I joined HM. Many a times I used the road to go to Sasaram, my hometown and the birthplace of the emperor. It appears neither the government nor the people are interested in saving this road at least for the posterity.
For going to Baidyabati, we took Delhi Road NH-2 that was built during the time I worked for HM. Many a times I had used the road NH-2 for pleasure trips. It used to be smooth going through the rural Bengal. It was also the road that I used for going to Sasaram after it got ready. But then gradually it became congested with many habitations mushrooming along the road and started remaining potholed for most of the time. I saw many factories coming up along both the sides.
For returning to Salt Lake, we took Durgapur Expressway. Though the approach to the Expressway from Baidyabati was pretty bad with the road totally damaged by the commercial vehicles, the experience of the Durgapur Expressway that is part of Golden Quadrilateral was stunningly delighting.
Our next road trip with Anand and Shannon was to Jaipur and Agra. While the road to Jaipur is part of GQ, leading to Mumbai. The entry road to Jaipur through Amer is still single-lane. Road from Jaipur to Agra is also under up-gradation to four-lane. And perhaps it will take another two or more years for commuters to experience a pleasant drive.
However, the Expressway between Agra to Delhi was the best but for a small stretch near Sikandara. I feel road network must integrate certain facilities for the sake of commuters who shall be using it more and more for pleasure trips.
1. The most importantly NHAI must provide for rest rooms at regular intervals with good signage. If it is costly and difficult to maintain, can’t all the petrol pumps be made to have it compulsorily?
2. NHAI must also provide for separate truck parking away from he main road with facilities for drivers and vehicles. Vehicles of any kind must not use the lanes of expressway for parking.
3. No doubt. Some good restaurants have come up on the Expressways, but it is difficult to know while driving the distance of the next eating-place.
4. A way out for stopping the encroachment will be a necessity to keep the mesh out of the Expressway driving delight. Near Sikandara, many factories are having its boundary walls so near to the Expressway. Can’t CII or FICII ask its members to be more responsible?
I wish I could get updated information about the rest rooms and restaurants on different segments of the Expressways on some websites before starting on my trips by road. That is one of my many concerns before taking a long one to complete GQ.
Can any one help?