Take steps to make highway motorable: Himachal HC

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Shimla, May 26 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Thursday directed the union and state governments to take all possible steps to make the National Highway-5 fit for plying of vehicles, mainly in the remote Kinnaur district.

The court also sought a status report on the ongoing strengthening of the highway that ends close to the Chinese border.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Sandeep Sharma passed these orders on a petition file by Nirmal Chander Negi.

The petitioner said many hydroelectric projects have been set up along the highway, earlier known as National Highway-22, which had been damaged at several points due to unscientific construction.

Due to landslides, the highway has been damaged particularly in Urni and Thopan areas in Kinnaur.

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He said the road stretch from Powari to Kaurik was handed over to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for maintenance due its strategic importance.

The BRO further entrusted the job to a private company in 2010, which was to completed the assigned work in 2013. But due to a dispute between the BRO and the company, the work had come to a halt, said the petitioner.

The highway — earlier known as the Hindustan-Tibet road — was laid by the British in the 19th century to connect India with Tibet for trade through the Shipki-La border post on the India-China border.

The treacherous highway, which connects the trans-Himalayan Buddhist area of Kinnaur and neighbouring Spiti to the rest of Himachal Pradesh, largely runs parallel to the mighty flood-prone Sutlej river in Kinnaur district.

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It remains disrupted in a 100-km stretch from Wangtoo and Khab at one point or another owing to flooding of the river, say officials.

The highway ends at Sumdoh in Spiti sub-division, 330 km from here.



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