Mangaluru, Nov 19, 2016: As the second phase of works of Shiradi Ghat on Bengaluru-Mangaluru national highway has been expedited, questions loom large over the closure of the Ghat for traffic. A recent warning from the Principal Secretary of Public Works Department got contractor to work towards completing the project at the earliest .
The Rs 90.27-crore project was awarded to GVR Infra Project Private Limited Company on November 6, 2015. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) gave permission to carry out works on the highway from December 23, 2015 and sought completion of the work within 18 months. However, even after a year 50 % of roadside drain works have not been completed.
Principal Secretary to Public Works Department M Lakshminarayan, who inspected the works on November 4, expressed his disappointment over the slow progress.
He warned the contractor over the delay in works and set a deadline to complete all the 46 drains within November 20. The works have now been expedited with labourers working round the clock, but as the soil on the ghat section is loose, they are finding it difficult and the chances of completing works before the deadline seems bleak.
The upgrade works are being taken up at a cost of Rs 90.27 crore and includes asphaltation works from 216th km to 237th km and concretisation from 250th km near Kempuhole bridge to 263rd km of Addahole bridge. In all, the project includes 73 drains and concretisation works. But, without completing drain works, concretisation cannot be initiated.
During a recent meeting in Mangaluru, Forest Minister Ramanath Rai had opposed the move to close Shiradi Ghat highway to take up concretisation works.
“Shiradi Ghat connects Bengaluru and the coastal region and a ban on traffic here would cause great inconvenience to passengers and traders,” he opined. He suggested that the authorities concerned should verify whether it is possible to ban heavy duty vehicles and allow only light vehicles on the road.
Following this, Mangaluru deputy commissioner and the NHAI officials made a spot inspection. The NHAI officials however, stated that since the road is narrow, it was impossible to carry out works without closing traffic.
Speaking to media, NHAI superintendent engineer said that a meeting of ministers, MPs, MLAs, Deputy Commissioners and SPs of both Mangaluru and Hassan, had been scheduled for November 20 to discuss the issue. He added that the equipment required for taking up the works have also been sourced.
Meanwhile, Shiradi Ghat Rasthe Ulisi Horata Samiti president Sanjith Shetty stated that, last year, the closure of Shiradi Ghat had caused inconvenience to hundreds of passengers everyday while the district administration lost hundreds of crores.
Hence, the authorities concerned should chalk out plans not to disturb vehicular movement on this stretch,” he said.