Mangaluru: At first glance you might mistake it for a field but then you’ll realize all the heavy traffic going through it you might think it’s a off road dirt track, but then you’ll see vehicles crawling through like a ship sailing through rough seas- then someone will tell you this is the State Highway 67- yes you read that right, a State Highway, on the wake of construction of a new bridge which connects Kateel Road to the Bajpe junction. Since April 2015 the old Airport Road is the only other road which connects both sides.
Hundreds of Service buses, City buses, MRPL ONGC buses and trucks, School buses, all the pilgrims who visit Pope John Paul II Chapel or the Kateel Temple and even vehicles going towards Mangalore International Airport, and all others have no other option but use this road or whatever is left of the road – even a simple visit to the market has become a nightmare for all, not just the road but also both sides of the road are a razors edge, one slip/skid and your vehicle is doomed. That’s not all, this stretch alone is causing a lot of damage to the vehicles too, and not to forget the Pedestrians, there is NO SIGN of either a footpath or even a place to stand when heavy vehicles pass by.
Vehicles getting piled up is becoming a daily routine, the Authorities blame the rain for the mess but one can’t help but wonder “How and What” made them to start the bridge work in the month of April when they knew very well it was NO WAY POSSIBLE to get the bridge work done by June, when it’s time for incessant rains. Various NGO and volunteers have tried to fill the potholes or better say “Mini Wells” with mud but with just one rainfall it is all back to square one.
The Authorities now say the bridge work “MAYBE” completed by August 15th, but its hard to believe their words. In the meantime, driving or riding on this stretch of bad road riddled with bumps and potholes will develop backaches, but I guess the citizens have no other options, it has become an occupational hazard for many.
In terms of surface area covered, these bone-breakers aka pot-holes make up quite a bit of this infamous road. And what’s galling about this pathetic scenario is that it seems like there is no dearth of funds for road repairs – it’s just the usual story of official apathy and inefficiency. The concerned authorities should act fast in fixing this dilapidated road and the potholes right now, before they get bigger. The infamous potholes that pockmark Bajpe- Mangalore roads are perhaps the quickest indicator of the establishment’s political and official apathy. Statistics available with the Transport Department which never tires of announcing grand plans to upgrade the city’s infrastructure to global standards, show an alarming exponential increase in the number of potholes dotting the roads. The condition of this road will worsen after few more heavy rains, which will surely make driving/riding and even walking hazardous.
The effect of these ‘piranhas’ of this road is there for all to see: not only does traffic move gingerly, but not a day goes without a handful of motorists, especially bikers, ending up in falls and getting injured. On the other hand sidestepping their own laxity in maintaining these roads, officials are quick to apportion blame to the elements! Another bad part is that, while asphalting a road, the engineers don’t inspect the road and while tarring the road, potholes are not filled properly, thus making them even bigger after some time. The engineers should take vehicular density into account before starting asphalting work on a road, but this is not done and the tax-payer’s money is thereby wasted. And this road is an perfect example!
I think It’s time for the concerned authorities to act fast, and fix this road and potholes as quickly as possible, before the area gets hit by severe thunderstorms and hail, which may result in making this road more damaged and the potholes bigger. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, hoping that someone will hear us and do the needful in fixing this State-Highway 67 at the earliest.