Bantwal, Jan 4, 2017: Reports say that traders and residents of BC Road-Polali Kaikamba resorted to a demonstration in protest against National Highways Authority of India’s apathy in completing the road widening work in the region affecting vehicular movement on the busy Mangaluru-Bengaluru National Highway 75 around BC Road. Residents alleged that the NHAI dug up shoulders on the NH on both the sides for the construction of a bus bay as well as road widening about one-and-half-a month ago.
People were forced to cross 4 ft by 8 ft gorge to access shops and houses on the side of the highway. Despite repeated pleas to the NHAI and the district administration, the work has not been completed, those participating in the protest said. They said that there has been lack of coordination between the different departments in executing and completing the work. Electricity poles have not been removed thereby hampering the widening work, the residents said.
The protest, which commenced at around 10 a.m., intensified as the day progressed with shops and establishments downing their shutters in solidarity with the protesters. As the protesters said that they wanted to block the highway, the police intervened and pacified them. A few NHAI officials, who visited the spot, reportedly assured them of completing the work within 10 days.
A senior NHAI official said that the authority had been undertaking road widening work as per the approved design and plan. However, the local police, without any information to NHAI, had dug up additional extent of road shoulder using earthmovers thus creating the problem, the official said. It was not within the scope of the sanctioned work, he pointed out. Since electricity poles exist on the stretch, it would take considerable time to get approval for shifting the poles.
As such, NHAI would repair the surface without shifting the electricity poles and the work would start immediately.