Monday, July 14, 2008

Who killed the Golden Quadrilateral?

I recently did a Bangalore Bombay via road on a KSRTC Airavath service. The bus takes 18 odd hours to the trains 24 - both of which have become real options looking at the airfares. That the bus takes 18 hours is good, but it could be better. It can shave off another 3-4 hours, probably more. Why cant it?

The roads are not good enough; rather the highways project looks abandoned. Just off Tumkur you see the first sign. A half completed flyover. Today this flyover looks like Angkor Wat. Trees growing on the sides, near permanent diversion signs and nobody to be seen around - no construction vehicles. After that, near Chitradurga, same thing. It is almost as if someone has given up on it. I spoke to the bus driver who was doing a phenomenal job. "It has been like this for a while now." And from then, it is the same saga. Good roads for a while, then diversion and so on until some distance into Maharashtra (or is it some distance before Pune).

Just imagine what this could have been. You see signs of it all around on the completed sections. Fenced roads, underpasses for pedestrians and villagers. Village roads have access. There are overbridges - some with a provision to take a bike over. (The section that I saw in TN- Bangalore Chennai, did not seem to have all these - leading to people coming on the right lane of the road at great danger to themselves and oncoming vehicles. There are still idiots who violate rules, like a moped came in the opposite direction and so on.) The toll boths have an ambulance, a crane to take care of emergencies. The highway projects could have connected India like no other, but then the UPA has different priorities.

It is definitely not a quadrilateral. The golden part of it is now one of the golden achievements of the UPA. So what happened? The Indian Express had reported on it a little while ago. 2007 was the slowest year of highways. In 2006, there was some fudging of statistics. Heres another one from the Fortune correspondent here.

More on the GQ, here, here.


sandeep said...

i'd felt the same while doing a blore - vizag drive in 2004 and wrote abt it. And again during a couple of drives (from blore to delhi and mumbai) in 2005. the roads were good in parts and we took only abt 4hrs from pune till belgaum (abt 360kms). was wondering how good it'll be to cover blore - mumbai (1000kms) in abt 10hrs - easily possible if the same standard of roads had been maintained through out.

i am not biased to any parties, but when most of the nation was progressing well with GQ, the states lagging most was UP, Bihar and Karnataka - all ruled by non-NDA govts.

the fact is GQ has hardly progressed since 2005. its a pity!

Kavi said...

The golden quadrilateral is a golden goose. If i build it all at one go, who will feed by grandchild. it is a perpetual money making machinary !

Golden Quad or perhaps Golden geese !

Neelakantan said...

This goose is truly cooked :)

Innocent Warrior said...

Nice Blog, I liked the article.

I have added you to my bloglist.