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A hell road in highway guise

Distance: 45km

Travel time on bike: 2 hours

If the speedster in you thinks this is impossible, try the stretch of NH-33 between Jamshedpur and Dalbhumgarh.

This arterial link from Ranchi and the steel city to Odisha and Bengal, which sees a daily traffic volume of 1.5 lakh, is dotted with yawning craters and is a bone-breaker to the core.

While common commuters live the nightmare every day, VIPs aren’t spared either.

“I was stuck for more than four hours a few days ago. This double-lane national highway stretch has become virtually non-motorable. Snarls can ruin your day. We were forced to voice our protest and the (East Singhbhum) district administration had assured us that repairs would be initiated by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) within a week,” said former BJP state president Dineshanand Goswami.

Bottlenecks are routine. So are breakdowns. Heavy vehicles and commercial carriers often break their axles on the highway, leaving behind serpentine queues.

“In the last one month, we have seldom reached school on time. It should not take more than half an hour from Jamshedpur to Ghatshila on a highway. But, we have been reaching school at 8am instead of 7.30am despite taking the first bus at 5.30am,” said Smita Choudhary, a teacher with St Joseph’s Convent at Kashida.

Transporters rue delay in delivering consignments to Bengal and Odisha.

“We are incurring heavy losses. There have been several instances when our vehicles have developed technical snags after hitting giant craters,” said Santokh Singh Gill, a partner in Gill Transport Services in Jamshedpur.

Tormented long-distance buses bound for Odisha are already planning route change.

Chief patron of Jamshedpur Bus Owners’ Association Upender Sharma said they had no other way to overcome delay and discomfort. “Bus drivers are willing to take longer detours via Hata-Haldipokhar-Mayurbhanj instead of experiencing the harrowing journey through Jamshedpur-Ghatshila-Baharagora,” he added.

Ghatshila subdivisional magistrate (SDM) Amit Kumar admitted the problems.

“The deputy commissioner (Amitabh Kaushal) had held a meeting with NHAI officials. The latter has promised to take up repair work immediately after monsoon. The NHAI has also requested speedy land acquisition from the forest department for widening work of NH-33 and NH-6,” Kumar said.

The four-laning of NH-33 between Jamshedpur and Ghatshila is being undertaken by concessionaire Madhucon Projects Limited, while the NH-6 stretch between Baharagora and Kharagpur will be widened by Simplex Infrastructures Limited.