NHAI Negligence! Protest by Friend after his Chum Riding Bike Died Avoiding a Pothole

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NHAI Negligence! Protest by Friend (Likith Rai) after his Chum (Aathish )Riding Bike Died Avoiding a Pothole near Kandettu Cross, Bikarnakatte on NH 73 on 5 August

Mangaluru: It happens again and again-Heavy rains, heavy traffic and alternating periods of warm and cold have scarred local streets and the potholes pop up — and this has formed a worst-case scenario for repair crews who are struggling to find and fix all the emerging potholes. But are they doing the job right? I don’t think so. Throwing some loose stuff in a hole and just hoping the traffic driving over it will fix it, will not serve the purpose. The evidence now says otherwise. I think the only way to solve the current pothole mess is to lay a two-layered concrete road with a seal coat but the problem is, our authorities I bet are busy playing blame games.

And these potholes are dangerous to lives, especially for two-wheeler riders, who could get seriously injured or lose lives. Recently there have been TWO INCIDENTS, where a youth riding a bike lost his life, and an MSc student of Mangalore University was seriously injured, both trying to avoid potholes. On Sunday, 7 August, a young scooter rider, in an attempt to avoid a pothole on the road, rammed his two-wheeler into a road divider and died – the incident took place near Kandettu Cross, Bikarnakatte on NH 73. Aathish (20), a resident of Konchady, was the rider who lost his life.

Aathish aged 20 who lost his life avoiding a pothole while riding his motorbike

Nikith Rai, a close friend of Aathish protesting in front of MCC building against NHAI for their negligence

While he was heading home, he didn’t notice the pothole that was before the divider due to rainwater and trying to avoid it, he lost control and hit the divider. His head had hit against the iron reflector pole that is installed between the divider, and the seriously injured Aathish was rushed to a hospital but he succumbed on the way. In another incident that took place a few days ago, a final-year MSc (environmental science) student from Mangalore University met with an accident when riding a two-wheeler, and attempting to avoid a pothole on the Netravati Bridge on National Highway-66, on the way to Mangalore University. The injured Nishmitha P S, 22, has undergone surgery, and doctors have told her that the plaster will be on for a minimum of two months, and it will require about six months to remove the rod that has been inserted in her hand.

The Pothole is now fixed after the death of Aatish

After his helmet fell off, the head of Aatish hit this USELESS Iron Reflector Pole

In that condition, she will not be able to answer the -NET exam, which is scheduled on August 11 and 12. What bad luck for an aspiring student who will not be able to attend the final-year semester examinations and UGC-NET exam. And just like these two young persons, chances are that many more youth and adults will risk their lives, riding on the pothole-ridden City streets and NH’s. But does anyone in the district administration, MCC or NHAI care about the safety and lives of the motorists?

Now the death of an engineering graduate on a potholed national highway has created social media outrage against the NHAI, where on August 5, around 6:45 pm, Aathish Y, an engineering student, lost his life after he hit a pole on the divider while trying to avoid a pothole on NH-73, near the Bikarnakatte Kandettu road. Likith Rai, a friend of Aathish, raised his voice during a protest in front of the Mangaluru City Corporation building, accusing the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) of their negligence in fixing the pothole-ridden city roads.

Meanwhile, Linge Gowda, the project director of NHAI speaking to the media has said: “There is no negligence by NHAI. There was a pothole due to heavy rain. On a fateful day, it was raining heavily and the victim was speeding. We have started filling all the potholes.” On Thursday evening, Likith Rai held a silent protest, holding a placard in front of the Mangaluru City Corporation, demanding justice for his friend. He and several others posted accounts of the accident on their social media handles and condemned NHAI’s inaction.

Likith said “The death was due to the negligence of the authorities and yet it was recorded as an accident. He (Aathish) didn’t die in an accident. He was killed by the authorities responsible for bad roads in Mangaluru. He was a loving son, a helpful friend, a caring brother and a cheerful 21-year-old boy with a lot of dreams. He lost his life in the centre of the city just for not being extremely skilled at missing a deadly pothole in my smart city. I don’t want this to end like any other social media outrage.” On his Instagram post, Likith said “I lost one of mine today. Next could be one of yours if we remained silent”. He added that Aathish had plans to go for higher studies and was working in a company to gain experience.

“He had completed his civil engineering from St Joseph Engineering College, Vamanjoor, recently. The results were out on Wednesday and he passed all the subjects with very good marks,” added Likith. Meanwhile, Mithun Rai, a Youth Congress leader, also posted on his Facebook. “Today being Raksha Bandhan would be a grand festival for Aathish, being loved by his sisters. A vow to be taken to protect them remains unfulfilled. However, everything is shattered in a minute. The family mourns the loss of this boy.” He asked people to fight against negligence in road quality.

This is not the only POTHOLE in the City which killed a youth, driving/Riding on Mangalore streets, and for that matter, even on the outskirts of the City, is like an obstacle course, with a bunch of crater-sized potholes at every nook and corner. Drivers keep swerving and manoeuvring to make sure they miss every pothole. These potholes have also worsened the chronic traffic jams which Mangaloreans face every day, especially near Bendorewell, Nanthoor Junction, Bunder, and Kottara-Chowki, among other places. Anyone who has had the misfortune of commuting on the stretch from Bendorewell junction going towards Balmatta or Bendore will testify what a great pain the ride is – literally – owing to the numerous potholes that punctuate the road. I bet a ride on this stretch is akin to a ride on a ‘ camel’s ‘ back- just bumpy!

As long as cheap quality tar is being used and layered too thinly, we will continue to have these problems every year. It’s an obvious pattern and I wonder why nobody is looking into this, or better yet, our city officials should visit other metropolitan cities in India or other countries and see how they are coping with this matter. Without any delay, MCC should undertake a major exercise to refurbish City’s potholes.

While MCC is busy laying interlock bricks on inner streets, they have forgotten the main roads, where potholes appear every year during monsoon time, and this year too. Potholes aren’t just a nuisance for drivers; they also constitute dangerous safety hazards that can produce substantial damage to vehicles, force drivers to veer suddenly in traffic, or even cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The gaping streets can also damage a car’s alignment and suspension system. The city crews should take quick action to fix the potholes before they get deeper and worse — thereby avoiding severe driving hazards and vehicle damage.

So while waiting for potholed roads to be restored for a smooth ride, just brace yourself because it’s once again pothole season in Mangaluru. And for sure, the MCC authorities will not take any action, until a few tiny cars like’ Maruti Suzuki Alto’ get stuck in the pothole or a few riders fall off their two-wheelers. Until then bear with the potholes or curse someone at the MCC— and still, keep driving safely.

Also Read Related Article: 

Motorists to Get Injured or Lose Lives- It’s Once Again Potholes Nightmare In Bendorewell?

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1 Comment

  1. There are two culprits: 1) greedy Contractors and 2) corrupt officials. Inspect all roads, record which contractor constructed the road and which official approved it. A pattern could emerge revealing the corrupt.

    On another note, Did Ashith wear a helmet? if not, on Raksha Bandhan day, weshould rekindle shira-raksha campaign (Wear-helmet campaign).

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