Mangaluru, Sep 20, 2018: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) which collects hefty toll for the 17-km stretch of NH 66 between Nanthoor and NITK Surathkal has not taken steps to keep the stretch motorable even a month after the monsoon has receded.
Filled with potholes and craters, the stretch of the national highway paints a very poor picture of Mangaluru, one of the major economic hubs in the State. The pathetic condition of the road has affected thousands of trucks that enter and exit the State’s only major port — New Mangalore Port, as well as an equal number of passenger vehicles, buses, cars and others.
It is not just the stretch between NITK and Nanthoor that is in poor condition; the stretch of NH 66 near the Pumpwell (Bhagwan Mahaveer) Circle and Thokkottu Junction are also battered. Huge craters around these junctions, where contractor Navayuga Udupi Tollway is building flyovers since eight years, have been affecting smooth vehicular movement.
Satish Shetty, a resident of Panambur, said that the NHAI has not addressed the root cause of the problem for potholes and craters on the highway between NITK and Nanthoor. It has failed to provide proper rainwater drainage system from the carriageway to the shoulder drains thereby aggravating the creation of craters, he said. This is despite the NHAI’s claim of allocating ₹ 10 crore for repairing the stretch during this summer, he added.
Highway stretches abutting NMPT and the old bridge on the Phalguni (Gurupura) at Kuloor are in pathetic condition where motorists have to struggle to move on.
This is also leading to traffic pile-up in the region, he said.
On its part, NHAI said that it would soon take up repair works of the battered stretches of the highway.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) is going ahead with its proposed protest seeking the closure of the toll plaza at NITK and demanding immediate restoration of the affected highway on September 26.
DYFI State president Muneer Katipalla told reporters here on Wednesday that a padayatra would be taken out from Kuloor at 9.30 a.m. and a public meeting would be held near the toll plaza at 1 p.m.
Despite NHAI violating provisions of law with regard to toll plazas by operating two such plazas within a distance of about 10 km and failing to maintain the road, the marked silence of the people’s representatives is surprising, he said.
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