Mangaluru, Oct 14, 2017: National Highways are the lifeline of any region. Built spending crores of rupees of taxpayer’s money, today these Highways are calling for urgent attention in Dakshina Kannada as well as Udupi district with many stretches turning into serious death traps for travelling commuters as maintenance remains elusive. It’s not just the highways but many arterial roads too are in bad shape forcing citizens to resort to protest.
The sorry state of roads and highways can be attributed to substandard work, poor surveillances, negligence, corruption and incessant rainfall during monsoon. Most of the time what the authorities offer is only an unsustainable short-term solution like occasional repair which is nothing but also an exercise in wasteful spending as the roads revert back to their old state in a matter of a few months.
There have even been many instances of roads getting eroded in rains just a few months after their construction, pointing towards the poor quality works least bothered about public safety.
Dakshina Kannada district has had a long tradition of inordinate delay in execution of road projects, one standing esample being the BC Road to Suratkal four-laning work which took years for completion. Now it seems it is the turn of the flyover at Pumpwell or Mahaveer Circle, the works of which are still limping. The inordinate delay in the work of a major project at a prominent junction is testing the patience of people. The NHAI authorities blame delay in land acquisition for the same. The flyover is being constructed as part of the ambitious four-laning project between Kundapur and Talapady at a cost of Rs 671- crore. The deadline for the completion of the flyover project is now fixed at May 2018. Even Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel took officials of Navyug Udupi Tollway Pvt. Ltd. to task recently for not completing the flyovers at Pumpwell and Thokkottu.
The pathetic state of the National Highway stretch between Padil and Mahaveer Circle and between Thokkottu and Nantoor junctions too has invited the ire of the Corporators and Mayor. The worsening condition of the roads and the frequent traffic snarls have been testing patience of the people.
The road from Nanthur to BC road has also suffered damage. With Nanthur considered a danger zone due to the number of accidents reported from the area in the recent years, the bad state of the road is only a reflective of the apathetic state of affairs.
Recently, Residents of Bendurwell area and auto rickshaw drivers too staged a protest condemning dilapidated roads from Bendurwell circle to Karavali circle. Even the roads from Pumpwell to Bendurwell and Pumpwell to Father Muller Hospital road are completely damaged. The roads here which are accident prone are putting the lives of motorists in danger.
The dangers in the potholes are lurking in Alake, Bendorewell, Bunder, Bibi Alabi Road Nantur Junction and many other areas. Mangalureans in a way are used to these bad roads thinking all they can do is curse the authorities.
In Udupi, social activist and former councillor Nityananda Volakadu had to resort to a Urulu Seve and a swim in the puddle to draw the attention of the authorities towards the sorry state of affairs of the stretch of road from Syndicate Circle to MIT junction coming under the Malpe- Tirthahalli National Highway 169A.
In another development, which can be termed welcome at the outset, Kaup MLA has instructed the NH officials to solve all NH related problems in the district within 15 days, as revealed by SP Sanjeeva Patil during a phone-in programme. The SP also stated that the NH officials will be made acountable if any accident takes place due to non-adherence of the directive.
A vigilant action plan for regular maintenance and repair of roads and highways devoid of negligence and corruption, regular updating of the list of accident zones and priority action plans for their improvement without any delay should always deserve attention from the policymakers. But, given the present state of affairs will this be a reality?