Mangaluru, Dec 3, 2014: Lack of clarity between the State and central agencies appears to be delaying the proposed reconstruction work of the Shiradi Ghat, the vital link between the coast and the hinterland, on the Bengaluru-Mangaluru National Highway.
The contract for laying the 13-km stretch Ghat road (Heggadde to Kempu Hole guesthouse) was awarded back in May and the package, for making the balance 13-km Ghat stretch (Kempu Hole guest house to Adda Hole near Gundya) and the reconstruction of the bitumen of a 21-km stretch (Gulagalale near Salakeshpur to Heggadde), is yet to be awarded.
The second package got delayed as the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways took time to approve it under engineering, procurement and construction mode, a top Public Works Department official told media off the record . The contract will be awarded soon it is stated . There was confusion as to who would undertake the reconstruction — the National Highways Authority of India, which was making the Hassan-B.C. Road stretch of the National Highway four-lane or the Public Works Department. Sorting out the issue took some time.
Since July, the Public Works Department had been announcing the closure of the Ghat for vehicles from December 1. By mid-November, the closure was postponed by a fortnight, the proposal was said to have been put on hold.
The result is that even if the Ghat is closed for traffic immediately, all that the authorities can allow now is concreting a small portion of the Ghat .
Public Works Department’s National Highway Chief Engineer visited the Ghat stretch and said that preparation for the reconstruction, like widening of culverts and construction of shoulder drains, which do not require diversion of traffic, have already been taken up.
The contractor, assigned with the reconstruction of the 13-km stretch, was unable to source adequate material and could commence the work soon. Stretches of Mysore-Bantwal State Highway, including a few bridges, where heavy vehicles would move during Shiradi Ghat’s closure, are still incomplete.
Minister for Public Works H.C. Mahadevappa is expected to visit the site soon and hold meetings with the Deputy Commissioners of Hassan and Dakshina Kannada district before taking any further steps.
Further Public Work Department’s Shivamogga Circle has proposed to close the Agumbe Ghat for the reconstruction of the 2.4 km stretch with concrete for three months from December 21. Agumbe Ghat was identified as an alternative route for light vehicles during Shiradi Ghat’s closure. The State government has released Rs. 6 crore to undertake temporary repair works on the Shiradi Ghat which has gone back to its ‘original’ pothole and crater-ridden condition.
A top official in the Public Works Department stated that considering the delay in executing the reconstruction work, the department is undertaking temporary works. About 30 km stretch of the ghat road is almost beyond use for normal purposes. .