Switching from Shiradi via Charmadi Ghat-A Nightmare for Commuters
Mangaluru: Shetty Family of Kadri, the ardent readers of Mangalorean.com, shared their ordeal with Team Mangalorean of their travel from Bengaluru to Mangaluru, on their Toyota Innova, where they said that their journey was very tired some and it was a nightmare stuck in the traffic chaos for hours. Usually a trip for the Shetty family from Bengaluru to Mangaluru takes around 5-6 hrs via Shiradi Ghat, but they had no other option than to take one of the alternative route via Charmadi Ghat, which took nearly 9 hrs.
The commuters, who travelled on Charmadi Ghat (NH 234) on Jan 20, Saturday, had a harrowing experience as they were caught in a traffic jam, following the sudden increase in the density of vehicle, with the closure of Shiradi Ghat Road-NH 75. Travellers on this route on Sunday had a difficult time as the traffic moved at a snail’s pace. Hundreds of vehicles were stranded near Kottigehara. The Shiradi Ghat stretch was closed from 6 a.m. on Saturday to allow rigid pavement work between Maranahalli police outpost and Gundya. Vehicles heading towards Mangaluru from Bengaluru were diverted at Hassan. A majority of them took the Belur-Mudigere-Charmadi-Ujire route.
As the Charmadi Ghat road is narrow compared to the Shiradi Ghat one, only mini-vehicles and ordinary buses are allowed on this route. Normally, the number of vehicle on the road connecting Mangaluru and Bengaluru is high during weekends. With the closure of one road, the pressure on the alternative was high. The heavy commercial vehicles such as Airavat and Rajahamsa buses were allowed only on the Madikere route. The closure of the road has also affected roadside eateries and hotels in Sakleshpur and the ghat stretch. For the next five months, customers will be hard to come by. On the other hand, the outlets located between Mudigere and Charmadi Ghat are likely to do good business. The rigid pavement work is expected to be completed by May 2018
Unable to take the added vehicular burden diverted from Shirdi Ghat, the narrow road along Charmadi Ghat saw traffic jams that caused delays of up to three- four hours on Sunday, the first day the Shiradi Ghat section was closed. This has left the Dakshina Kannada district administration working overtime so as to mitigate the problem arising out of traffic diversion, even as authorities said the problems were not completely unexpected. The route through Charmadi Ghat is one of the alternatives to Shirdi Ghat, which is a lifeline for commuters travelling between Bengaluru and Mangaluru. Dakshina Kannada district is the biggest casualty of the closure of the Ghat that lies mostly in Hassan district, there is bound to be some problem, especially when buses try to take the narrow Charmadi ghat, in spite of buses being banned on this route.
A KSRTC bus driver Thimmappa Gowda speaking to Team Mangalorean at the KSRTC Bejai bus terminal-Mangaluru this morning said, “The density of vehicles increased by evening. As heavy vehicles ply on the stretch, many a time, they have to reverse at the curve to facilitate the movement of vehicles coming from the opposite direction, which is also creating the traffic congestion. The closure of Shiradi Ghat has increased the pressure on Charmadi Ghat. For the next 5-6 months till the road work on Shiradi is complete, it will be a hard time for us to ply through the alternative routes. Commuters have already faced the brunt of this situation. Passengers many a times take their frustrations about the inconveniences faced by them due to this- like it was our fault. They need to be patience and understand the situation”
It is learnt that PWD, NHAI, Karnataka Road Infrastructure Development Ltd, and the district police will assess the traffic flow situation along Charmadi Ghat independently until the Shiradi Ghat work is done and see what measures need to be taken to ensure unhindered traffic movement from Dakshina Kannada to Bengaluru. Additional home guards are being pressed into action to regulate traffic along Charmadi Ghat, and sign boards with numbers of jurisdictional police stations and officers and district control room have been erected along the route so that people may get in touch with the police in case of traffic jams. Such measures will help police take necessary steps in case of jams.