Thursday, June 7, 2012

NH40 And Me

Most of you my friends already know my love for Shillong. Though living in Guwahati for more than 25 years we still have a house in Shillong, the same one where my husband is born and brought up. We spend most of our short school breaks,long weekends,Rongali Bihu, Durga Puja in Shillong. Not more than two years back travelling to
Shillong used to be so much fun because of the hassle free two and half hour drive and the  extremely picturesque landscapes that  NH40 offered.
 NH 40 is a National Highway of India entirely within the state of Meghalaya. It covers a distance of 216 km.It is the only lifeline for Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and the Barak Valley districts of Assam. At present a mega project is underway to widen a 61.8km section of Jorabat-Barapani section of NH-40 into four lanes. This project was approved by the Central Government to ease traffic snarls on NH-40, which connects Guwahati with the State Capital and extends to Barak Valley in Assam and Mizoram through NH-44. Authorities say that the improvement of this NH to four-lane standard would  bring in prosperity and development of the region.

 This ambitious project has not only  hit the daily  road blocks, traffic congestion creating immense suffering to the travellers but also completely changed the previous lush green terrain into a muddy mess.


 Slashed hills ,boulders of all sizes .

 Busy machine.

A lone wall standing with a beautiful painting of Jesus on it.Wonder what made the machines stop here! I captured this picture last year .
Noticed this new wall painting near the same site where once stood that wall with Jesus painted on it.

It used to be a beautiful house on top of the hill .
 En route from Guwahati to Shillong, most of the travellers stopped mid way at Nongpoh to freshen up and get some refreshments as there were many coffee-tea shops around.This place was also visited by Rocky and Mayur of Highway On My Plate fame. Nongpoh is also a good place to pick up bamboo pickles,fresh local fruits ,vegetables and other condiments.Look at the above pictures ,this is how it stands now. I hope the people who lost their homes and shops have received handsome compensations from the government.
 Now travelling to Shillong needs strategic planning so as to avoid getting stuck in traffic jams.The  large-scale of overloaded coal trucks have ruined NH 40 over the last few years. An increasing number of ten-wheeler trucks are playing havoc with NH 40. Besides, the number of trucks plying on this highway is increased from around 1,500 per day to about 2,300 per day which has now become a nightmare for travellers because of the traffic jams occurring almost every day.On January 14th this year, the Union Minister of State for Water Resources was caught in such a jam which lasted for two days and the minister reached Shillong on a friend’s motorcycle.There are news of people missing their flights, babies being delivered on ambulances.
 After last month's trip we have a toy truck  at home which looks exactly like this.

A pretty cabbage farm. Not sure to find it the next time we are on NH40.Many farmers have already lost their agricultural fields.
 These lovely trees are next in line..
 This mini-truck was loaded with packs of match sticks.The truck driver fell asleep while smoking his bidi , so here is the result. Driver was not hurt in this .
 This is me reporting from NH40.

121 comments:

  1. A lot of your flora and housing remind me of Hawaii. I think we might feel right at home there. Thanks for taking us along on the ride.

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    1. I agree Kay , pictures in your ,Gigi's and Cloudia's blog do support our view.So when are you planning a trip here!

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  2. How are you Kavita?
    Nice to see you here again.
    Not only do these so called developments spoil the environment, they also get delayed to years, and finally with all the waiting they end up completing it in a shoddy manner. It is really sad, I was just thinking of planning a trip to Shillong, and see various places in Assam, but now i have to give up the idea.

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    1. I am good Rama.Thanks for your good wishes and prayers.I hope that they plant new trees once the project is over.This project is going to take one more year to complete so you can always plan a trip here later.Would love to meet you .

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  3. How are you doing ..

    I guess to change and in name of TARAKKI , we end up destroying a lot of things ..
    the purple tree is looking so WOW..

    Thanks for reporting from NH40 :) it says object in the mirror are closed then they appear, But i can't see you :) he he he
    Bikram's

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    1. In India most of the things that we do lack proper planning .I am not against development but wish it was done in a better way.
      Regarding your mail : I travelled to Shillong in mid April .I wanted to publish this post on 22 April which was both my third blog anniversary plus Earth day , I am still on bed rest , I don't spend more than fifteen minutes at a time on net.It took me very long to complete this post. There are many drafts in my editor waiting to be published but i need to go slow till i completely recover. Hope everything is fine at your end. A big Thanks for your concern bhai ...touched.

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  4. K, beautiful photo journalism in a subject that is of great concern and importance. Development towards destruction if one may call it.

    The irony is that we chop trees first and then plan the roadway. The villains are trees and green pastures.
    At the current rate of "development" as officialdom love to call destruction, in a hundred odd years planet Earth may become another Venus, desolate and hot.
    The idea that we do not own Nature , but we safe keep for posterity is less understood or disregarded. Pity.

    Again , a good photo journey .

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    1. Another Venus, looks like we are giving our best to create one. We have many environmental issues in our country and there are many who believe that a better economic development is key to improving India's environmental management.

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  5. Kavita, glad to see you back, and what a wonderful informative post. Reminded me of the old Mumbai-Pune Highway NH-4 that we travelled for years together before they made this new Expressway. The first old highway from Britis times, was a challenge to drive through, a delight to experience amidst the Sahyadri forestations, waterfalls, old temples by the roadside, locals selling jaumns and karavandas in leafy bowls, and rest areas for vehicles . Then someone imnportant got stuck and they fasttracked the expressway. It hasnt stopped the delays, because now people drive at reckless speeds and randomly change lanes and cause accidents, and all you see through the (now) shorter journey is concrete concrete and more concrete , because one drives too fast to enjoy the scenery. I guess thats progress.

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    1. I completely agree with you . What I fear most in future is more illegaly overloaded coal trucks on all the four lanes.

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    2. I remember those days too, Suranga. It used to wonderful especially during the monsoons.

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    1. Thanks , good to see you here .

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  7. Lot of destruction happening in the name of progress. Hate this...why cant life be pure and simple?

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    1. I repeat, why cant life be pure and simple?

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  8. A very good report indeed. It is sad. Let us hope the highway gets back into business soon. Then maybe more plants and trees can be planted along the sides. I hope the people who had to leave got good compensation for it too.

    It is nice to see you back here. Keep reporting. I haven't been to the eastern part of India yet, planning a trip soon. Hopefully the highway will be ready to use again and I can report with good green pictures too.

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    1. I doubt that they are going to do anything on this issue once the project is completed , one can only hope that they do.Do visit here Jyothi ,would love to meet you in person.

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  9. amazing snaps kavitha...enjoyed!

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  10. progress comes with a price...

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  11. While going to Shillong from Guwahati last summer i witnessed all this being done there you mentioned in this post.....and yes in the name of development and progress we have to pay a lot for....its not only limited to this place in fact this blind race of development is effecting us badly through out the globe.....and nothing can be done either and unfortunately entire humanity has to face its consequences..........

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    1. Problem is that we are taking too much from environment and doing almost nothing in return.But again nature has its own way to balance things ,just wait and watch.

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  12. Wonderful report .. We are/will pay heavy prices for the so called Development

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  13. I am so sad to read this post. But I am glad you have the before and after shots ... they made me gasp and cringe as well. Sometimes we go too fast through our world ... and taking away the local charm alongside the roads makes us just increase our speed. And decrease our participation in the world. Sigh.

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    1. I agree Clytie .Glad to see you here :)

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  14. Felt sorry looking at the bare mud areas. The cabbages look so beautiful. If this type of expansion continues esp. on agricultural lands, we may have to import even vegetables.

    Nice to know that you still continue to go to your native place to celebrate festivals. Very limited people have that privilege nowadays with all the next generation coming to the city and parents joining them.

    I am very very happy to see you here again, Kavita! Take care.

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    1. They say that it will look much better after a year or so which I seriously doubt. Because of traffic hassles now we don't feel like going there much ,and same sentiment is shared by many of our friends and relatives.

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  15. I know how sad it feels to loose the old landscape forever. Hopefully, the devastation remains limited to highways. And those are amazing photographs.

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  16. Ba, How are you? Welcome back.Thanks for the post.
    Take care.

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  17. How sad to see this destruction of beautiful countryside. It seems like it is taking forever to build 4 lanes. Hope this work will end soon.

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    1. I am so excited about meeting you in November Gigi.

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  18. It feels wonderful hearing from you after so long. So sad they kill the trees... Hope they would plant new ones when the project completes.

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  19. So happy to see your post, Kavita. what a Summer road trip! Thank you dear




    Aloha from Waikiki,
    Comfort Spiral
    > < } } ( ° >

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  20. Great to see you back blogging!
    Times, they are a changing! For better or worse only time will tell.
    Beautiful captures!
    At least you have had the pleasure of travel on the good old NH40. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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    1. Only time will tell and I hope I am there to report that too.

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  21. Well development does take its toll. I saw this during my Goa trip too, huge tracts of red. Your photos are great. Here along the NICE corridor, we have seen a lot of good growth, but I am sure many trees were cut in the bargain. The same applies to the ongoing Metro work. What do you think is the balance we need to strike.

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    1. We talk of balance but sadly do nothing for it. We need more selfless people likeJadav Payeng (the man who made a forest).

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    2. I agree with you -- we talk of balance but what do we really do? We continue to use plastic, drive our cars want wider roads etc. I wish there was some other way in which progress could be achieved without destroying the environment.

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  22. Nice pictures! Hope the muddy spaces fill up with greenery once again!

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  23. Kavita, I can see an anguishing battle between a nature lover and the development ( modernization).Quite understandable and I really agree to your point of view. But I have a different story to tell.We are in Punjab, and are proud to have the first ever Highway in India the grand trunk road. Off Late there has been a lot of widening of the road,( four laning as well as six laning, causing the same what you have witnessed. But you win some you lose some. Its high time that the North East gets connected widely with mainland. believe you me, with the widening of NH 1, we have witnessed a growth in tourism by road, reduction in freight cost for the industry ( as the roundabout time of a truck has increased to more than double, hence more income for the driver). I can understand the loss of Nature, but our growing populations have driven the country to look for more infrastructure building. Of course the issue comes when there is undue delay in completion of the projects by the redtapism. But to be very frank, I really felt happy to see this progress, as my brother in law who is posted at Tezu, the extreme end of north east, may get his tanks and guns quicker to save the Nation, if Chinese attack.

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    1. Jyoti I am not against modernization and development but sadly our country ignores important environment measures while carrying out these projects.I have lived most of my life here and know how important connectivity is.We ignore one important issue to solve another important issue and in the end create many new problems. We are worried about China attacking us but turn a blind eye on daily influx of thousands of illegal Bangladeshis into Assam. Sometimes I feel that I live in Bangladesh.

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    3. that's the point so well brought up by anilkurup also, "Sustainable Development". We are uprooting one to sow some thing else is not right. The intent of Development is not bad, but its implement is!

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  24. I hope you are doing well now Kavitaji. Yeah development v/s destruction. It goes hand in hand isnt it?
    As you say, those trees and those rocks will not be there in few years.

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    1. I am on my way to recovery Bindu.I wish there was a better way to achieve development.

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  25. very informative post ...Its amazing to see so much hard work to bring back land to fertility ..but worth the work..
    the first picture is amazin with that little cottage on top .. the view wud be very good frm there I m sure :)abt it ..

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    1. The drive used to be unique Harman.

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  26. Same story here too. NH 47 is being widened. Ghost town looking houses and shops. Some still clinging to the space as they can't find alternate arrangements yet, with just a muddy curtain to ensure their privacy from the NH at doorstep. It is tough.

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  27. Nice Post Kavita , reminded of my Native place whee i was born ..Will post about it soon..

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    1. We belong to the same native land so really looking forward to your new post.

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  28. Kavita, I'm not in the club that is against development perse.
    But I have to seek an answer as to what is meant by "development". Dispossessing and uprooting tillers of the soil and tribal from their ancestral land and sending them around the country like gypsies.?Flooding huge and vast areas of forest and farm land with water from mammoth dams and drowning people who live around?( Narmada is one glaring painful example)mauling vast forest lands and kill earth for huge open mines ? Slaughter vast stretches of mangroves for townships?
    The argument for all this is the cliche,"greater common good".

    Do we have one example of sustainable development in the country?

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    1. My point exactly.I am completely with you on this.I was thinking of Narmada while capturing these pictures.And do we have one example of substainable development in the country ? No ,we don't.
      Everything is fine in the name of development until it doesnot directly effects us.As long as we are not the one to loose our homes and lands it is ok.
      In last few months my city faced more than seven eight leopard attacks ,why??? There are some people of our state who are providing lands to settle illegal immigrants coming from Bangladesh.Reason, a fat vote bank .Where this land is coming from? Our forests are being cut down for their settlement.Result ,animals are left with no choices but to move towards city.

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  29. A brilliant photo feature.The two photographs with Jesus Christ tell the entire story.

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  30. stunning picts…
    each one speaks volumes…
    the heartbreaking part of it is, like any other places, here too hands of man encroach deep into the bosom of nature….

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  31. Great photo feature. Loved the tree with the light purple blossoms, what tree is it?

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    1. Thanks Sujata. I will find out the name of that tree and let you know.

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  32. I am yet to come across such a stark document on the so-called development as this. What I always request the pro-development school is that destroy nature if you must, but please keep it to the minimum. But then, the standards will never meet, would it? Because, unlike what the naive pro-development, pro-progress people think, the politician-contractors- developers nexus is concerned only about easy money.

    Stunning photos, lean, whip-like narration. You must get it published in the local media. Maybe some eyes might open...

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    1. There is a lot on NH 40 in media but the concern is more on traffic jam .Ignorant us.

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  33. There's something for you in my blog!

    http://sorisha.blogspot.com/2012/06/award-time-thank-you.html

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  34. Thank you so much Pragyan , I will visit your blog soon.

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  35. Nice pictures and commentary. :)

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  36. It seems like Sujata has beat me to it by commenting on the tree with such lovely lilac coloured leaves - I'd also love to know what it is.

    Such a shame that Mother Nature is being disturbed like this and all in the name of development.

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    1. I will let you know the tree name once I find out.Thanks Tracy.

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  37. Kavita,

    Nice to see you back after a gap with this post close to my heart. We were in Shillong for almost 3 years and our son was born there. You brought back so many memories, Barapani, Nongpoh and all. You and Ruprekha by putting up such posts make me crave to visit that area again. But will it be as beautiful as it was those days? I doubt. In the name of so called progress we tend to care next to nothing for environment.

    Take care

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    1. Like many say ,development comes with a price.Thanks.

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  38. not missing u at all Dr ji..kyon ki..u r always on our mind..cheerssss:)

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  39. Dear Kavita Didi,

    Happy to read a post from you after a long time. Hope you are doing well and everything is fine with you.

    Yes, sadly if the development has to happen, the price of losing pleasant greenery should be paid. But once the highway is ready, hope a lot of tree plantation and greenery is improved.

    Take care, hugs to your kids, Cheers, Sai :)

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    1. Good to see you here Sai. Thanks.

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  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  41. My ancestral home being in the district of Karimganj, we used to travel through Meghalaya every now and than during my childhood and teen days..than getting married at Silchar, this experience continued..also it was my fav. summer holiday destination..but the Shillong that used to be is no more..No more can we see the beautiful houses and the serenity..now it has become a concrete jungle with lots of high rises, population and traffic jams..now I frantically avoid that road..Really feel pathetic seeing the destruction of Shillong that used to be..

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    1. The road to Silchar is going to improve a lot after this project. You are right ,Shillong is slowly loosing it's charm.

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  42. A wonderful docu-post if there was ever one. the pictures paint a grim picture indeed. We had visited Shillong in 2000 and I remember the lush green all along the route from Guwahati -- must have been NH 40.

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    1. A very warm welcome !It sure was Nh40 as it is the only road that connects Guwahati to Meghalaya. Thank you so much for reading.

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  43. Nice post. Development comes at a cost.

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  44. An amazing capture of the beauty of the region, Kavita:) Unfortunately these areas have been neglected for long:(

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  45. I can see the difference that NH40 has made (negatively!). Thank you for documenting it so well. You know J.C. Kumarappa in his survey of villages in Tamil Nadu criticized the Nehru Govt on spending so much on projects like road development which he said did not really lead to development. He would have loved to see your photo essay providing actual evidence of the same. Thanks again!

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  46. A very warm welcome to you Bhavana.I am glad you liked the post.I have been capturing this project right from the very beginning and will keep on updating.Thanks.

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  47. Essas fotos são impressionantes.
    Boa semana!
    Beijinhos.
    Brasil.
    ¸¸.º°❤♫♫♪¸¸.°
    °º✿⊱╮

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  48. Never been there but the picturesque locales captured wonderfully, have come alive thanks to you.

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  49. Beautiful pictures that communicate subtly awareness on ecological and environmental issues. Assam like other North Eastern States is a 'heaven on earth'. Hope we can balance growth and development with environmental preservation.

    Cheers,
    Dilip

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  50. Dear Kavita, I hope you are doing better now. I have an award for you at my blog http://www.wrenwarbles.blogspot.be/. Please do visit and take it up whenever you have the time. Thanks.

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  51. we are going to held a Bloggers meet,Assam-2012, on 10th August/2012.
    Venue:-Barpeta Road High Madrassa.(NearJame Masjid).Barpeta Road
    For more,directly contact:
    Main Uddin-9954639509
    Dulal Hussain-9859276341
    Shazida Khatun-03666-284516
    or mail at http://umain30.com/contact-us/

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  52. Such a long time! Waiting eagerly for new posts by you!!
    Hope everything is fine at your end:)

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  53. Kavita
    Fully agree with you. Large scale destruction of environment in the name of road widening is happening across the country: on National Highways,State Highways,City roads and so on.Trees are disappearing fast and quick.Shaded areas are reducing.This is resulting in increasing temperatures and lack of shade & shelter for travelers.Not enough is being done for planting new trees !Sad state of affairs indeed.
    Have a great Sunday
    Warm Regards Ram

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  54. Enchanting pictures and your interesting
    writing are stealing the heart.

    Thanks,Kavita.

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  55. ✿✿¸.•°

    Boa semana!
    Beijinhos.
    Brasil
    ✿✿¸.•°

    ReplyDelete
  56. well, to quote myself, this is the price we pay for modernization... either we want expanded roads or we want our lush green fields and at the end it is economics and politics which win... the room/home in the 1st pic really make me scare... to stand on the balcony and looking below... and i think maybe the govt decided to transport the Jesus painting along with the wall to some other place that is why they stopped there... anyhow i came here very late... sort of busy lately...and i found you too have not blogged for a while...hope you are having vacations somewhere and enjoying... do tell us about it when you find time :) have a happy summer :)

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  57. This is the 100th comment on this post. Just came to say that I loved your blog. It opens a realistic window to the north east :)

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  58. Awaiting your next post. Hope this finds you in good health.

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  59. Kavita, Pls do blog often...and to show how much we enjoy your blog ,the sunshine award is passed to you here :
    http://ashokism.blogspot.in/2012/08/sunshine.html

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  60. Hello.
    I understand improvements are needed, but it just makes me sad to see the landscape destroyed like this. We were on holiday last year in the Caribbean visiting my in-laws and it's a similar scenario...a new airport is being built and thousands of poor people have had to sacrifice their little homes to the government so they can build roads and terminals. Some of the people uprooted were elderly who had been living in the same home for 50, 60, 70, 80+ years and had nowhere to go. I agree with Israr...this is the price we pay for modernization. Nice photos. Thanks for sharing.
    Congratulations too on your award...I saw your name mentioned over at Ashok's blog.

    Thoughts Of Beauty In The Stillness Of Dawn...

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  61. °♡彡¸.°

    Um lindo dia, com muito sol, saúde e paz!!...
    Beijinhos do Brasil.

    °♡彡¸.°.¸彡♡°

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  62. A person essentially help to make seriously articles I might state. That is the very first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I surprised with the research you made to make this actual publish amazing. Fantastic job!

    ReplyDelete
  63. ✿✿
    Tudo bem com você?
    Amiga, beijinhos.
    Bom fim de semana!
    ✿✿✿

    ReplyDelete
  64. Invitation to join a newly launched writers group WriterOwnHome

    "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." - Anton Chekhov

    I am an occasional writer but often writing bugs get better of me and make me write. Some of my fictions have appeared in some of the literary magazines in English and in Bengali like Muse India,Pujabasik,indiblogeer, blogjanta Editor's Choice et cetra.

    I have just opened a WritersOWnHome Group for writers interaction in the face book whose link is https://www.facebook.com/groups/WritersOwnHome/


    To make it an effective group, would love to have your stay at WritersOwnHome.

    I am writing only to those who have writing abilities or else want to sharpen the skill

    "If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad." - Lord Byron

    As you, like many of us, at times experience the same madness, it would be my honour to invite you to join this group and make it a home for all of us in creative madness.

    I am writing this to a few writers.Your contact I got from your visit to my Durga Puja Blog post -Evolution of Durga Puja.

    For joining the group please email back or if you already have a face book account just select the group link above and submit ADD request

    my facebook id https://www.facebook.com/gautam.mitter

    Wishing for your gracious presence in the group

    WritersOwnHome
    Site Owner

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  65. change is always good!!!


    http://sushmita-smile.blogspot.in/

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  66. u dunno how many people miss reading yr posts in this beautiful blog..Dr..u have so many fans out here..

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  67. Hello Kavitaji,
    Wish you and your family a very Happy Navratri :)
    Hope you are doing fine and in the best of health :)

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  68. olá fiorellino
    a tradução ficou péssima,a casa de ferias è linda.
    te desejo um fim de semana de paz e serenidade.

    bacione

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  69. hi buddy sure u had a colourful divali celebration along with near oness...thanks n best wishes

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  70. hi buddy sure u had a colourful divali celebration along with near oness...thanks n best wishes

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  71. beautiful place with natural greenery...

    thanks

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  72. There is always a price that you pay for every enhancement in comfort.Imagine the immense benefits that would accrue once NH40 with four lanes materialises.
    Beautiful pictures that make one wanting to visit the place

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  73. pretty places!
    India has so much to offer, sometimes it feels like an entire different world within a world!

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