Potholes on the Road Stretch near Closed Surathkal Toll Gate Pose Risk to Motorists
Mangaluru: Even though the Surathkal Toll Gate was closed on 1 December 2022 after several protests by activists and the public for its closure, to this day, the tollgate structure with six separate lanes still stands even after seven months of its closure. Motorists and residents say that the tollgate structure has been posing a threat to vehicles and may lead to accidents during the night. The Highways Authority of India (NHAI) ordered the closure of the Surathkal tollgate from December 1, 2022.
When the tollgate structure was not removed, people brought the issue to the notice of Mangaluru City North MLA Y Bharath Shetty. Following this, Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel also directed the NHAI officials to clear the tollgate structure. The MP also brought the issue to the notice of NHAI officials at a District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committees (DISHA) meeting recently. Residents of Surathkal and surrounding areas said that the tollgate structure has not been cleared from the national highway till today, posing a threat to Motorists, which may lead to accidents.
Speaking to Team Mangalorean Mohammed Asif ‘Apathbandava’, the Founder of Maimuna Foundation/Apathbandava Psycho Rehabilitation Centre in Mulky, and who had also fought for the closure of Surathkal toll gate through continuous hunger strikes day and night said, “It was a great victory for us after days of protests and many other efforts. Finally, we won the war. Now that the toll gate is closed but the structure which has not been demolished and cleared is posing a threat to motorists passing through the toll gate lanes. Debris is scattered all over the area, including the nonfunctional traffic lights. And since that area is not lit, many times there have been narrow misses of accidents taking place. Apart from that, due to the recent incessant rains, the entire stretch near the toll gate has been filled with potholes making it treacherous for motorists to drive or ride. I urge the NHAI officials or any concerned authorities to take quick action in filling these potholes before they get worse and cause accidents”
Meanwhile, the Action Committee Against Surathkal Tollgate has warned the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) that an indefinite protest will be launched if the unused tollgate structure at Surathkal on NH-66 was not removed immediately. The authorities concerned should immediately clear the structure and fill all potholes in the area, said Muneer Katipalla, convener of the committee. “The tollgate structure on the national highway poses a threat to motorists. The ceiling and other portions of the tollgate structure may collapse at any time. The NHAI should have removed the structure immediately after the cancellation of toll collection,” he said.
Meanwhile, potholes on the national highway stretch between Surathkal to BC Road have been causing inconvenience to motorists, Muneer said and demanded immediate repair of the stretch. “Huge potholes developed on the national highway stretch from Surathkal to BC Road only because of the negligence of the authorities. The NHAI should have taken up maintenance work on the stretch before the onset of the monsoon. Many accidents have occurred on the stretch during the rainy season.” he added.
A series of protests will be organised if people’s representatives and officials do not take the initiative to remove the tollgate structure from Surathkal and fill potholes on the national highway stretch from Surathkal to BC Road, he warned.
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