Unattended Migrant Workers Children Playing Under II- Padil Underpass in Total Risk of Their Lives
Mangaluru: While other children are safe inside their houses taken care well by their loving parents, but here we see the pathetic condition of nearly a dozen children of 4-5 migrant families, unattended by their parents, who are seen sitting or playing under the yet to open second railway underpass, thereby risking their lives due to speeding vehicles. Even though the underpass is not yet open for movement of traffic, but quite a few vehicles taking a short cut travelling on the adjacent road, take this underpass, which poses a danger to these children, while playing or walking beneath the underpass. A few semi-trucks also are seen parked under the underpass, where the drivers relax after a hectic drive- but the entry of trucks also put the lives of these children in danger. And sadly, none of these children wears a face mask, they sit close to each other- and a few have no clothing either?
A couple of days ago when Team Mangalorean had visited the spot to look into the situation where the road had caved in resulting in a huge pit right in the middle of the road, posing a danger to the few vehicles that ply on this stretch of the road but also is hazardous to a bunch of migrant workers children who are playing and walking around, in the absence of their parents. Such is the situation even today, near the second railway underpass that is still under construction since years, on the National Highway at Padil, connecting Mangaluru to Hassan-Bengaluru. However, a few days left before this underpass is opened for vehicle movement, we are seeing a portion of the road caved in, leaving behind a huge hollow pit.
But luckily motorists avoided a disaster, since the road caved in well before the opening of the underpass, if not we would have seen quite a few accidents, resulting in injuries and damage to vehicles. The appearance of the pit is total carelessness and negligence of the NHAI officials, the contractor and workers- who expedited the work, without noticing that underground drainage was passing under the spot and when the heavy road resurfacing was done above it, the weight made the portion of the road to cave in. It has been over two years that the work on this second NH underpass had started, and while the NHAI was ready to open it for vehicle movement, this nearly 3-4 feet deep pit that appeared has now put the opening of the underpass by few more days. At present, the pit has been covered, but final work is still pending.
Sources reveal that the underpass is being constructed on NH 75 connecting Mangaluru- Bengaluru, at the cost of Rs 5 crore. The underpass has been built as per the norms and rules of Indian railways-with the height of the underpass at 5.5 meters, which can allow vehicles up to the height of 5 meters to pass through it, unlike the underpass at the Pumpwell Flyover, where large vehicles always get stuck since the height is only 4.5 meters. Since the area around the Padil Underpass gets a heavy flow of water during monsoon, the railway department has elevated the area by 1.5 meters, using red mud. It is also nice to note that NHAI has provided a walking facility for pedestrians at the underpass and also for easy flow of stormwater, drains have been provided.
Speaking to Team Mangalorean, a site supervisor said, “Recently the heavy rainfall had made the earth under the road soft, and when the road roller was trying to level the road, due to the weight and pressure the portion of the road caved in, leaving behind a huge pit. We noticed that the road caved in because of the hollow drainage that is passing beneath here, and due to the weight above resulted with this problem. We will look into the situation and rectify the problem soon.”
Well said by the site supervisor, but in conclusion, through this report, I want to bring to the notice of the NHAI officials and the NH patrol to see that no migrant workers children are allowed to run around or play near the underpass, which pose a danger to their lives, since a bunch of vehicles, especially two-wheelers and cars for a short-cut, zoom by through the underpass. Hope they will do the needful in regard to the lives of these children who are let out by their careless parents. Thank You!