National Highway 21 between Chandigarh and Manali remained blocked for over 8 hours on Tuesday due to the falling of heavy rocks on the road near Hanogi Mata temple about 29 km from Mandi.
Reports said that intermittent heavy rains in the entire Beas valley continue to cause widespread damage to land, crops, roads and property over the past four days.
As many as 9 vehicles were damaged without any loss of life. Some costly vehicles belonging to top travel agencies of New Delhi carrying foreigners were also damaged badly. Fortunately, the tourists had alighted from the vehicles when the fleet of the stranded cars were passing through the fragile and vulnerable portion of the road.
A large number of foreigners were going to Leh and Ladakh via Rohtang Pass through the highest motorable road in the world. The condition of the road is, however, the greatest deterrent for the tourists many of whom have now changed their route to Leh and Ladakh via Srinagar. This is causing huge loss to the travel agents and hoteliers of Mandi, Kullu and Manali while the government seems to be unconcerned.
The National Highway authority of India is also doing pretty little for improving the worst condition of the roads. Its work in Himachal is progressing at a snail’s pace. Big and deep potholes on the road beyond Kiratpur in the territory of Punjab and Himachal have got on the nerves of the tourists who find it very hard to negotiate the worst portion of the road.