NANTHOOR JUNCTION- a Killer Zone! Does NHAI Have a Solution to End Deadly Accidents?
Mangaluru: On the outset, on behalf of Team Mangalorean I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members of the victims who perished in the ghastly accident that took place on Saturday 18 March, where a 17-year-old Miss Pranathi “Bhoomika” Kodikal, a student of St Aloysius PU College, Mangaluru riding pillion with her Uncle 66-year-old Samuel Jesudas, on a scooter were crushed to death, by a Tipper vehicle driven mercilessly and Recklessly by Satish Gowda Patil. It is learnt that Pranathi was a talented singer and Bharatanatyam dancer, and had just completed her PUC exams before her tragic death. These two accident deaths and the other deaths in the past due to accidents at this Junction could have been prevented, if the officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the local district administration/MCC and the local traffic/police department had taken some safety measures a long time ago.
This Article is a Tribute to the departed Soul of Young Miss Pranathi “Bhoomika” Kodikal, a student of St Aloysius PU College, Mangaluru
The death of these two persons at this Junction due to an accident has brought back the question of the safety of motorists at this busy junction. Instead of our senseless and brainless politicians and other administration/MCC officials spending crores of money in constructing/renaming Circles in the City, they could have spent that same money on building an underpass or a flyover, a few deaths could have been prevented due to accidents happening at this deadly junction. Among the many fateful accidents taken place at this Nanthoor Junction, to name a few- apart from the one that took the lives of two persons on 18 March 2023; on 29 April 2022 a bike rider was killed when a tanker rammed into his motorbike; on 26 July 2022, a scooter rider was killed by a speeding car; on 12 August 2022, yet another scooter rider was killed by speeding private bus; In 2017 two people died, and six seriously injured in a truck accident; In 2016, one death and nine injured; and in 2015, five dead and 13 injured due to an accident, among other accidents.
It’s really sad to note that the people who died in these accidents didn’t deserve death so quickly, because of the negligence of the careless motorists, and also because of the slow action taken by the concerned traffic authorities in finding a solution to avoid accidents at this notable “Nanthoor Junction ” of accidents/casualties/deaths. It is learned since May 2014 three ghastly accidents had taken place at Nanthoor Junction, where five persons have died and fifteen have been injured, of which some are still undergoing treatment for their serious injuries. Despite these accidents, officials of NHAI and the traffic department remained numb by not taking any measures to see that traffic moves freely without any accidents.
Sources reveal that following an accident in May 2014 in which two persons were grievously injured and another in November 2014 in which two persons died after a bus overturned, the Traffic Police had issued a notice to the National Highways Authority of India seeking an explanation on why they should not take action against the authority for not taking any measures to smoothen traffic movement at the junction. This has led the NHAI to widen both sides of the road between Padua School and Nanthoor Junction. An extra lane was also being prepared for vehicles going from Kadri to Padua School and for those coming towards the junction from Padua School, which would solve at least 30 per cent of the problem, according to traffic police.
But the best solution to avoid all that congestion/accidents at this junction is to construct an underpass and a flyover, which citizens think is direly needed. Only after accidents occur, do the concerned authorities and NHAI officials visit the spot, and no one has come up with a proper solution to prevent future disasters at Nanthoor Junction. Three years ago, the then Deputy Commissioner had said that, construction of an underpass was a permanent solution to the problem at the junction, and that an official of the National Highways Authority of India had said the Rs. 53-crore underpass proposed to take on the traffic on the national highway was pending with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Until now, nothing has materialized, until then motorists, as well as commuters will have to keep their fingers crossed and wait patiently till traffic problems are solved at the Nanthoor Junction.
Looks like the Underpass or overpass or flyover projects at Nanthoor Junction proposed now and then are neglected due to the lack of willpower among the officials and the politicians. Apart from accidents taking place at this junction, daily during peak hours during mornings and evenings, there is the chaos of traffic jams and motorists have to spend extra time on the highway, and just imagine an ambulance transporting patients getting stuck in the traffic blockage. Despite protests by activists and numerous requests made to the government to provide relief from this situation, it has been all in vain, as there are no signs of this demand getting the light of day. The people who have been demanding an overpass or flyover have witnessed that the proposal has been endorsed by the city corporation council’s general session, and many other meetings but nothing has been done till now. The people feel that none of these leaders has shown the grit to follow the file till it is sanctioned persistently. The experts opine that the overbridge does not suit Nanthoor. As such, the overpass was felt to be suitable. For the overpass, a project report of Rs 53 crore was sent to the centre in 2013 but it is awaiting approval even now. So with the people’s representatives and officials of NHAI unnecessarily delaying in implementing such proposals, either an overpass or a flyover, Nanthoor Junction will continue witnessing deadly accidents with deaths, and also traffic jams without a positive solution to end the crisis.
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A flyover/underpass etc. will just add to the problems.A permanent solution would be to construct a bypass road and such a solution was sanctioned by the union minister of highways in 2016 (the kinnigoli-BC road-Thokottu bypass road). In karnataka, even small towns like sakleshpur or gadag etc. have bypass roads but as for mangalore, the people are not bothered and hence we have allthese accidents because heavy vehicles cut through the city.