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Old 21st September 2015, 08:13   #586
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

Road update from my recent drive from Bhubaneswar to Shillong between 08 Sep - 13 Sep 2015 on a Pajero.

Day 1: BBSR --> NH-5 TILL KHARAGPUR, HAORA, BARDHAMAN NH2, RIGHT FROM BARDHAMAN VIA MANGALKOT, KANDI.

Bad Patches: BARDHAMAN - MANGALKOT - KANDI - BAHARAMPUR. Baharampur was the choice of Night Halt (NH) due to a mini-reunion with a batchmate.

Day 2: BAHARAMPUR --> MORGRAM, FARAKKA BARRAGE, KALIACHAK, MALDA, RAIGANJ, DALKHOLA, KISHANGANJ, BAGDOGRA, SILIGURI, JALPAIGURI, FALAKATA, KHAGRABARI --> COOCHBEHAR.

Bad Patches: FARAKKA - KALIACHAK - MALDA - RAIGANJ - DALKHOLA - KISHANGANJ. JALPAIGURI - FALAKATA. Again, Coochbehar was NH for a mini-reunion.

Day 3: COOCHBEHAR --> ALIPURDUAR, JITPUR, NALBARI, RANGIA, GUWAHATI, BYPASS, NONGPOH, BARAPANI, SHILLONG, UMPLING --> SHILLONG.

Bad Patches: COOCHBEHAR - ALIPURDUAR - JITPUR.

Summary of the Bad Patches:
Bardhaman to Baharampur, and Farakka to Raiganj are bone breakers. For a vehicle like a Pajero, I can say we managed without body pains, but for a sedan or a hatch, or even a Scorpio or Safari, it will be a living hell, and the sedan/hatches may at times end up with the bumpers as well as underbody being badly damaged. Farakka Barrage and the road on either side is pathetic. Jalpaiguri to Falakata was okayish. Coochbehar-Alipurduar-Jitpur is a similar state with very bad patches in between, though the single road at times is tolerable. Half the journey extended well beyond last light owing to bad roads and heavy vehicle traffic. Many times, we had to go off the road to bypass standstill traffic jams, negotiating deep craters and slush. Could not have managed without a vehicle like the one we were driving.

Had a broken AC condensor belt on the Farakka Barrage and lost about 2-3 hrs in getting it replaced outside a workshop outside Malda.

Some pics for updating:

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150908_16_03_47_pro.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150908_16_03_50_pro.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150908_16_23_03_pro.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150908_16_27_24_pro.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150908_16_59_07_pro.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150909_001.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150909_002.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150909_09_59_31_pro.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150909_10_58_02_pro.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150909_10_59_16_pro.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150909_11_01_20_pro.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150909_11_14_51_pro.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150909_11_19_20_pro.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150909_19_19_23_pro.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150910_10_52_20_pro.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150910_10_57_23_pro.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150910_15_18_51_pro.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150910_15_45_26_pro.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150910_15_56_34_pro.jpg

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-wp_20150910_16_21_28_pro.jpg

Last edited by Unavowed_X9 : 21st September 2015 at 08:22.
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Old 21st September 2015, 16:46   #587
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by gearhead_mait View Post
If I take Bhagalpur route, isn't the route through NH2B-Bolpur-Siuri-Massanjore-Deoghar shorter? Going by the posts in the thread, this route seem to have decent roads.
Nevertheless, I am keeping all ends open for discussion as any of the Kolkata-Siliguri route is too unpredictable to come to a conclusion a month prior.



I will update you with the details before you venture.
Back in May most people said that the road through Hansdiha via Chopa More was in dreaded condition, that's why the Asansol-Jamtara-Sarath-Banka sector was the preferred alternative.

While returning, I took a wrong ( left ) turn after the Vikramshila Setu, instead of going towards Kanisk Road and Bhagalpur Airport as it is mentioned on the map, I took the right turn after Vikramsila Setu towards Bihar Agri University and took the Bhagalpur Road which passes through Godda, Ghogha and Hansdiha, and have seen hell even before I died and noted that well on this thread earlier too. This same route and its condition was very well mentioned by Sheel too.

So in my opinion of May-June and Sheel's July experience, the route through Godda Ghogha and Hansdiha between Bhagalpur and Deogarh is dangerous and absolutely impossible for sedans or hatchbacks, I know very well how I narrowly managed that long route where ditches drop straight vertically to a depth of a feet and more and at the trough is so deep that when full with rain water it would drown a toddler easily.

https://www.google.co.in/maps/dir/De...3!2d25.2853938

Check the Routes while coming down from Vikraksila Setu, the middle Blue one was the one I took while going and the gray one towards Ghogha is the one I took ( unfortunately ) while returning and this is a real hell.
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Old 21st September 2015, 17:03   #588
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by themagicclicks View Post
Back in May most people said that the road through Hansdiha via Chopa More was in dreaded condition, that's why the Asansol-Jamtara-Sarath-Banka sector was the preferred alternative.

I was referring this route : Route

Quote:
Originally Posted by themagicclicks View Post
Check the Routes while coming down from Vikraksila Setu, the middle Blue one was the one I took while going and the gray one towards Ghogha is the one I took ( unfortunately ) while returning and this is a real hell.
Thanks! Point noted.
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Old 21st September 2015, 18:49   #589
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unavowed_X9 View Post
Road update from my recent drive from Bhubaneswar to Shillong between 08 Sep - 13 Sep 2015 on a Pajero.

Bad Patches: BARDHAMAN - MANGALKOT - KANDI - BAHARAMPUR. Baharampur was the choice of Night Halt (NH) due to a mini-reunion with a batchmate.

Day 2: BAHARAMPUR --> MORGRAM, FARAKKA BARRAGE, KALIACHAK, MALDA, RAIGANJ, DALKHOLA, KISHANGANJ, BAGDOGRA, SILIGURI, JALPAIGURI, FALAKATA, KHAGRABARI --> COOCHBEHAR.

Bad Patches: FARAKKA - KALIACHAK - MALDA - RAIGANJ - DALKHOLA - KISHANGANJ. JALPAIGURI - FALAKATA. Again, Coochbehar was NH for a mini-reunion.

Day 3: COOCHBEHAR --> ALIPURDUAR, JITPUR, NALBARI, RANGIA, GUWAHATI, BYPASS, NONGPOH, BARAPANI, SHILLONG, UMPLING --> SHILLONG.

Bad Patches: COOCHBEHAR - ALIPURDUAR - JITPUR.

Summary of the Bad Patches:
Bardhaman to Baharampur, and Farakka to Raiganj are bone breakers. For a vehicle like a Pajero, I can say we managed without body pains, but for a sedan or a hatch, or even a Scorpio or Safari, it will be a living hell, and the sedan/hatches may at times end up with the bumpers as well as underbody being badly damaged. Farakka Barrage and the road on either side is pathetic. Jalpaiguri to Falakata was okayish. Coochbehar-Alipurduar-Jitpur is a similar state with very bad patches in between, though the single road at times is tolerable. Half the journey extended well beyond last light owing to bad roads and heavy vehicle traffic. Many times, we had to go off the road to bypass standstill traffic jams, negotiating deep craters and slush. Could not have managed without a vehicle like the one we were driving.

Had a broken AC condensor belt on the Farakka Barrage and lost about 2-3 hrs in getting it replaced outside a workshop outside Malda.
Why did you take the Malda route to Siliguri? There are end number of horror stories about this route on Team Bhp itself. The alternatives are still much better.

Even i was in Guwahati, Shillong and Cherrapunjee on the same dates as yours. I took Siliguri-Malbazar- alipurduar-bongaigaon-Goalpara-Guwahati route. Very smooth roads, just little bit bad streches which doesnt mean much. Left early morning at 5am reached Guwahati in 8hours and loved the drive.
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Old 21st September 2015, 19:23   #590
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by rahul_kej View Post
Why did you take the Malda route to Siliguri? There are end number of horror stories about this route on Team Bhp itself. The alternatives are still much better.

Even i was in Guwahati, Shillong and Cherrapunjee on the same dates as yours. I took Siliguri-Malbazar- alipurduar-bongaigaon-Goalpara-Guwahati route. Very smooth roads, just little bit bad streches which doesnt mean much. Left early morning at 5am reached Guwahati in 8hours and loved the drive.
We had to catch up with some of my people enroute. We had some locations that would come in handy in case we had some issues enroute as well in terms of night halts.
The basic reason we had to take that route.
Moreover, it was a perfect setting to test the ability of the vehicle at hand, considering one of us was driving it for the first time after acquiring it, and I wanted him to get used to the capabilities of the vehicle.
The vehicle performed to perfection!

We left Coochbehar at about 1000hrs and reached Shillong by about 1930hrs.

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Old 22nd September 2015, 05:33   #591
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by Unavowed_X9 View Post
Had a broken AC condensor belt on the Farakka Barrage and lost about 2-3 hrs in getting it replaced outside a workshop outside Malda.
Parts were available for Mitsubishi at Malda? I have a SFX in my circle and this news will be of help.
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Old 22nd September 2015, 06:54   #592
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
Parts were available for Mitsubishi at Malda? I have a SFX in my circle and this news will be of help.
Since it was an AC Condensor belt, all I needed was a matching belt with identical dimensions. Tried Rolon and another brand. I think it was 1000 x 13 belt that fitted the bill. And voilą, it worked! Further, the belt was good sturdy stuff, but was pretty reasonably priced at ₹260/-. The mechanic charged me ₹200/- for their work, and I picked up another spare belt, couple of Hella Rallye 100/90W H4s just as a precaution. Paid a total of ₹1100/- and hit the road. The belt performed without a hitch.
I haven't been able to get any Mitsubishi spares there.

Last edited by Unavowed_X9 : 22nd September 2015 at 07:17. Reason: Punctuation error.
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Old 26th September 2015, 12:17   #593
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by scorpio25 View Post
Posting a brief summary of the road conditions.

Onward journey from Kolkata:
Asansol to Jamtara stetch has silky smooth dual carriageway interrupted by few railway level crossings; Jamtara to Sarath stretch has poor roads - this stretch is being relaid completely and hence current poor condition due to ongoing work - manageable stretch with patience and caution; Sarath to Deoghar stretch absolutely freshly laid and well marked tarmac; Deoghar to Amarpur stretch is again good smooth dual carriageway interrupted by couple of diversions at culverts that are getting rebuilt; Amarpur is narrow and congested, road condition is decent nonetheless; Amarpur to Bhagalpur has good roads;
Hi, Google Maps shows two options between Deoghar and Amarpur. The first is the Banka - Deoghar Road which passes through Katoria and the second is SH 25 (?). Which one did you opt for?
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Old 28th September 2015, 14:30   #594
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by Babuda View Post
Hi, Google Maps shows two options between Deoghar and Amarpur. The first is the Banka - Deoghar Road which passes through Katoria and the second is SH 25 (?). Which one did you opt for?
Hi Babuda, I did the route on 25th & 27th(yesterday). Some stretch-wise tips & findings below :

1. Kolkata-Rennaissance township(Burdwan) - Lovely NH2 but has surprise potholes due to rains. Durgapur Expressway is a delight to drive.

2. Burdwan-Bolpur - Good roads. Occasional depressions in the roads as always. Lot of Durga Puja Chanda gangs on this road. We encountered five while coming back in the 50km stretch. Didn't pay. While going we had passed at 5 am so no one was there.

3. Bolpur-Siuri - Thankfully, Someone noticed & the never ending speed brakers were demolished from Bolpur byepass. Beware of the goats & children on this stretch. Roads good till Purandarpur & onwards till Siuri.

4. Siuri-Dumka - Average roads with some uneven patches till the time you enter Jharkhand. Jharkhand onwards the roads are super smooth. For those who have done this route many times, this time we found Mongia/Saluja to be less present on the roads.

5. Dumka-Deoghar- Excellent roads once again. Since it is SHravani Mela time, Kanwar slow you down since there is no dedicated Kanwar path & they hog the roads.

6. Deoghar-Banka-Amarpur-Bhagalpur - As soon as you enter Bihar, roads become bad to very bad. I did this route 3 months back as well. The road condition has deteriorated since then.

7. Bhagalpur-Tetari - Lunar landscapes. No roads. Saw 11 trucks breakdown in a 2-3 km stretch. One hour wasted in this stretch. There is a silver lining though. Will explain later in the post.

8. Tetari-Purnea - Good roads. Smooth tarmac with road changing from dual carriage way to single carriage way.

9. Purnea-Matigara/Siliguri - Average roads. Surprise potholes & Uneven surface throughout while going towards Siliguri. Slightly better while coming back to Purnea.

Now regarding the query of Babuda.

There are 3 route options from Dumka to Bhagalpur

1. Dumka-Deoghar-Banka-Amarpur : Route excellent till you are in Jharkhand. After you cross border, Till Katoria roads are very bad. Situation improves in the Katoria-Banka-Amarpur stretch but still not good.

2. Dumka-Dhaka more-Banka-Amarpur :50 kms shorter than the above. Average/Bad roads from Bihar till Hansdiha. Very Bad roads till Dhaka more. Dhaka more-Banka(Not traveled). Banka-Bhagalpur is average roads. Not too great but doable.

3. Dumka-Hansdiha-Bounsi-Bhagalpur : 65 kms shorter than the first one this is the shortest route to Bhagalpur. Dumka-Hansdiha has bad roads. Hansdiha-Bounsi very bad roads. Bounsi to Bhagalpur NO roads. Would never recommend this road to anybody. Low GC vehicles cannot ply. High GC vehicles get tested for suspensions. It took us almost 3+ hours for 40 kms of this bad stretch and we were in a Duster.

Summary : I would say option 1 or 2 should be chosen. 2 will be faster since it is 50kms less. Also, since 1 has gone bad too in stretches, 2 doesnt look like a bad option. Under no circumstances should one take option 3.


The art of crossing Bhagalpur region (Bhagalpur till Naugachia) :

After multiple attempts we have figured out how to cross Bhagalpur peacefully. Timing is the first thing. Avoid night, when truck traffic is maximum. Avoid anything after 3-4 pm. Preferable time would be 8 am to 3 pm.

The route to be taken is as follows. I have divided it into two parts. Big to fellow BHPian Sheel for his help :

Part 1 : South of Vikramshila (i.e. Bhagalpur Town)

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-south-vikamshila.jpg

The byepass to be taken is as mentioned in the picture above. The above image has a scale of 500m so the distance is not as long as it looks. Bhagalpur can be crossed in 10-15 min max. The left turn has a marker saying "Hawai Adda Ka Rasta" (way to airport). The road is good & very less traffic. You will glide away to meet the highway near Airport. There is one bottleneck though. The railway underbridge tends to be at a lower ground level than surrounding. See if other cars/tempos are crossing it & judge the water level.


Part 2 : North of Vikramshila (i.e Naugachia stretch)

Name:  North of Vikramshila.jpg
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Marker after crossing Vikramshila is that just when the small divider ends, there is a right turn. Marker from Punea side is the "Bear Bar". It is just before it. There is are some barriers placed there as well.

Trust the above post is of help

Regards,

Pawan
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Old 28th September 2015, 14:46   #595
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by PapaBravo View Post
Hi Babuda, I did the route on 25th & 27th(yesterday). Some stretch-wise tips & findings below :

Trust the above post is of help

Regards,

Pawan
Thank you very much for the detailed update as well as the maps. I had travelled to Darjeeling last Pujas and had taken option 3. The Bounsi - Bhagalpur stretch was already bad but still doable at that time. Seems like I will go in for option two as suggested by you.

Once again, many thanks!
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Old 2nd October 2015, 18:48   #596
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by gearhead_mait View Post
I will be driving Kolkata-Siliguri during mid October (before the Durga puja). At present, I am open to take any route till Siliguri which would be in decent condition then (not the full NH34 stretch though, that's struck off the list). **If I do take NH34, it would be from Morgram (as usual). ...
...
Could I please ask the experts to drill the pros and cons of the route keeping in mind that its mid October travel being the start of Durga Puja?

We returned from a Malda trip on Sep 28. Considering the heavy monsoon so far and the resultant extensive road damages, we were advised not to drive. Although, we took the train but we did travel between Farakka and Kaliachak through NH-34.

On Sep 23, we started from Farakka station at 10:30 pm and could manage to cross Kaliachak at 12:15 am. It took 1 hour and 45 min to cross a mere 13 km distance in the middle of night! There were heavy downpours in preceding few days and the NH-34 appeared like half-road and half-river. Few potholes were large enough to swallow a hatchback. I could count more than fifteen Kolkata-bound luxury buses which were stuck at Kaliachak Chowrangee crossing. These buses had taken the route via Mothabari to avoid NH-34 between Malda and Kaliachak.

On Sep 27 when we traveled the same stretch, the situation had improved a bit. The rain had stopped. It appeared that some amount of road repairing work has began. The big potholes were at least filled up. It took just 20 min for the same stretch in the early morning.

So considering the extent of road damages, my personal assessment is that even in middle of October, Farakka-Kaliachak-Malda stretch of NH-34 would remain very rough.

However, given HCC has promised to begin toll operation for Farakka-Raiganj section of NH-34 by December/January, I guess, post-Puja improvement should be significant.

Best,

Last edited by gmhossain : 2nd October 2015 at 19:08.
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Old 4th October 2015, 14:35   #597
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by gmhossain View Post
However, given HCC has promised to begin toll operation for Farakka-Raiganj section of NH-34 by December/January, I guess, post-Puja improvement should be significant.
Although I believe the best route now is using the Asansol - Mihijam - Jamtara - Sarath - Deoghar - Banka - Amarpur - Bhagalpur - Purnea - Siliguri route, straight forward, less trafficked and better roads as I fond in June and even from updates from other people, this stretch seems to have better roads still.

But, yes of course, we all dream to see NH34 back in action, and for that we have you as our guardian angel of that route , with regular updates for all.

And this last line of yours, you do not even know how much hope it has generated. I'd be driving to Sikkim early November or mid-Nov latest, and if NH34 is at least negotiable by then, what can be better.

You also mentioned once that the Kaliachowk stretch was being widened, light posts standing in the already widened road was a photo you posted if I recall, so if that's complete too...what can be better.

Please keep updating on NH34 for us.

Regards,
Neelanjan
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Old 5th October 2015, 12:40   #598
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by gmhossain View Post
So considering the extent of road damages, my personal assessment is that even in middle of October, Farakka-Kaliachak-Malda stretch of NH-34 would remain very rough.
Thanks! gmhossain

This officially strikes off NH34 totally from the probable routes I would take.

Slightly offtopic : Yesterday I came back from a trip to Santiniketan, so would like to share some update.

Onward journey : DGP expy is in excellent condition as always (the potholes are repaired). NH2B is in decent condition as well with some rough
stretches. Bhedia underpass is partially repaired, but one has to be careful of the iron wires jutting out of the concrete road just at the entry and the exit of the underpass. Main issue what I found out was:

1)The local "chanda" collection groups who were stopping each trucks or pickup vehicles (commercial only, private cars were not disturbed), which resulted in congestion at several points (these groups can be found every alternate 500 metres for a few stretches).

2) The culvert just before Guskara is in pretty bad shape. On top of that only one lane of vehicles was allowed each time, managed by local police volunteers. This resulted in being stuck for 20-25 minutes there.

Return leg : Pretty much the same, but about 3 kms stretch of DGP Expy was closed for repair. So, Kolkata bound vehicles were navigated to the wrong side in that stretch.

It took me 4 hrs and 30 mins in the onward journey and 4 hours on the return leg.

Cheers,
gearhead
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Old 6th October 2015, 11:22   #599
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

gearhead_mait, Just remembered, since any route taken via Deoghar or Dumka will pass through Bihar eventually, did you consider the Bihar election dates to see if they coincide or are close to your travel dates? Elections are best avoided anywhere in India.
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Old 6th October 2015, 11:36   #600
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

Came back from Siliguri on 4th of October via Purnea Bhagalpur Dumka Massanjore Suri Bolpur Bardhaman route. About 30 Kms of very bad road between Bhagalpur and Dumka, rest are excellent. Got stopped three times for checking as the polls are nearby. No harassment except at one check point where we had to open each and every bag. Documents checked were Vehicle registration smart card, driving license and insurance.
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