‘Fill the Killer Potholes on National Highway 66 Soon or Face Protests’- Activists Warn National Highway Authorities of India (NHAI) Officials
Mangaluru: Activists are gearing up to protest against the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) as the heavy rains during the last few days have yet again exposed the poor quality of road works. The national highway stretch from Surathkal to BC Road has several potholes. Potholes on the 37km NH stretch that passes through the city may turn into a death trap for motorists, especially two-wheeler riders. Activists said large potholes of about one-foot depth have developed on the national highway stretch, adding that people under the Action Committee Against Surathkal Tollgate have planned to hold protests if the NHAI does not repair the road stretch.
Social activist Asif A said that the NH stretches at Panambur and Surathkal that connect North and South India have been damaged with potholes. “The authorities concerned should take initiatives to fill the potholes at the earliest for the convenience of motorists from various parts of the nation,” he said. Many vehicles were damaged: Concerned Citizens allege that about a five km stretch of Kochi-Panvel National Highway 66 between Kulur and Baikampady has almost become a deathtrap for motorists. Terming the road “Highway to Death”, Surathkal Tollgate Virodhi Horata Samithi Convener Muneer Katipalla said that despite potholes and craters surfacing year after year during the monsoon, the NHAI has remained a “mute spectator”.
“It is difficult for motorists to recognise potholes when it is filled with water. As a result, two-wheeler riders are facing the threat of accidents. Many vehicles, including cars and trucks, have fallen into potholes and they were made to spend thousands to repair their vehicles. In the 1km stretch between Panambur and Baikampady, there are dozens of potholes. One cannot imagine the total number of potholes that are posing a threat to the lives of motorists on the 37 km stretch between Surathkal and BC Road,” he said, adding that protest will be the only solution for the issue. The issue of potholes was raised by activists at a public hearing conducted by the forest department recently. NHAI officials had promised that the NH stretches would be repaired soon.
Regarding the Water stagnation issue, Baikampady resident Surendra Shetty said that the poor road condition was due to the NHAI not addressing rainwater stagnation issues on the carriageways. Neither the authority has improved shoulder drains nor rebuilt the carriageways scientifically so that the rainwater drains out. Yet, it spends at least Rs 10 crore every monsoon to ‘repair’ the highway, he regretted. He said Kulur Junction, the two bridges across Phalguni (Gurupura) River, KIOCL Junction, Panambur Beach Junction and Baikampady Junction were the most affected stretches of the highway.
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