Udupi, Feb 6, 2017: Udupi district in-charge minister, Pramod Madhwaraj,has directed the officials of PWD and National Highway department to submit a report on the status of four-laning work of national highway in the district within four-days. This directive came in the backdrop of a move by contractors to collect toll for the project at Sasthan and Hejamady on grounds that 90% of the work pertaining to the four-laning of NH in the district has been completed.
Taking stock of the situation with stakeholders following protests from locals over the move to collect toll, Pramod said there are misgivings about the total extent of work completed and contention of the locals that toll cannot be levied unless the project has been completed in full. The meeting also dwelt in length at the legal position to levy toll in such circumstances given that the Union government had given the contractor the go ahead to collect toll.
Samson Vijay Kumar, project director, NHAI (Mangaluru), said work on the service road will be completed in a few months and there is no rule that toll has to be levied only after the service road has been constructed. "90% of the work pertaining to the four-laning has been completed," he said. Jayaprakash Hegde, former MP, said the project lacks many basic facilities including service road and has resulted in many a fatal accidents, especially in Sasthan area.
Haladi Srinivas Shetty, MLA said there are no toilets along NH 66 from Kundapur to Mangaluru. The move to have two toll booths at Surathkal in DK and Hejamady, a distance of 12-15-kms cannot be condoned, he said. Shilpa Suvarna, ZP member, drew attention of authorities to problems that residents face in Uchchila due to the project, while pointing that people in Brahmawar and Sasthan too, will have to face problems on a basis once toll collection starts.
Shilpa Nag, assistant commissioner, said there is no issue with regard to land acquisition for the project. However, residents of Sasthan stood firm in their demand that they will not allow NHAI to collect toll, till such time that their demands including drainage at elevated place compared to households dotting the NH, service road, bus and lorry bays are provided and concerns of the locals over levy of toll is fully addressed.