Mysterious Barriers on Highway in Madhya Pradesh

Bob Rupani Updated: February 02, 2023, 04:32 PM IST

Last month while driving from Indore to Ahmedabad, I came across these barriers that have been installed on the national highway on the Madhya Pradesh side. I have never before seen such barriers on our highways and am completely confused about their purpose. They cannot be noise barriers to prevent the sound of vehicles from disturbing people, simply because as you can see in these photographs, the barriers are placed besides a highway that goes past farms. And there are no buildings or residences there.

Mysterious Barriers on Highway in Madhya PradeshI came across these strange road barriers in Madhya Pradesh.

Could they be to thwart wild animals or cattle from coming onto the highway? And if their aim is just to keep animals away from the road, why are they so high? Given this, I guess they have not been put there to prevent animals from straying on the road. So what exactly is the point of these barriers? I checked with a few locals, but they had no clue. Someone said they could be barriers to protect the road from getting submerged in water in case there are floods. Or to avoid dust from coming onto the road. I find this also difficult to believe because in case of heavy rains and floods, water will anyways come on to the road. And when the wind blows, dust can travel a long way and cover anything.

Mysterious Barriers on Highway in Madhya PradeshI just cannot understand their purpose or function.

Another local said that as the area is dacoit infested and they are known to throw stones on the windscreens of vehicles and loot them, these tall walls could be a way to stop them from getting away. Again in my opinion this is a far-fetched theory and I for one refuse to believe that any government will go to such lengths to avert thefts. But the fact is that these barriers have been fixed and the government is clearly spending a lot of tax payers' money on barriers that just don't make any sense. But, if there is expenditure, then there are commissions to be made, and this could be an obvious motive for building such useless barriers.

Mysterious Barriers on Highway in Madhya PradeshSome people said that they are to prevent animals from coming onto the road.

A truck driver from Punjab had some interesting theories. He said the barriers might be to prevent motorists from stealing crops or vegetables from the fields. And also in case a vehicle went off the road, to halt it from going into the fields and damaging any crops! When I asked him if he was into agriculture, he proudly said that he comes from a family of farmers.

Mysterious Barriers on Highway in Madhya PradeshOthers believe they are barriers for flood waters.

It was only when I inquired with a sub-inspector at a police check-post, that I got a plausible theory. He said that these are known as CSSB or "Concrete Safety Shaped Barriers". And the government is doing a study on the utility and effectiveness of conventional "Metal Beam Barriers versus Concrete Safety Shaped Barriers".

Mysterious Barriers on Highway in Madhya PradeshSomeone even suggested they were to prevent dacoits from throwing stones at vehicles and looting them!

This makes me wonder about the need for such studies. In my view it's just a smart way for some people in power to make money. The world over, the most popular and proven roadside safety barriers are the semi-rigid ones usually made from steel beams or guardrails. They are semi flexible and absorb some of the impact while preventing a vehicle from going off the road.

Mysterious Barriers on Highway in Madhya PradeshBut apparently the MP government is doing a study on the utility and effectiveness of conventional metal beam barriers versus such concrete safety shaped barriers!

In comparison, such rigid concrete barriers with shields like the ones seen in these photographs will obviously be way more expensive. They will also take a lot longer to build and their maintenance will be difficult too. In my view they are also eyesores, and we should not be constructing such concrete monstrosities in our still largely concrete free countryside's. This is common sense, but like I have said before, "Common sense is the least common thing in our country".

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