Unlock in Mangaluru Results in Traffic Chaos as Roads are Dug at Every Nook & Corner
Mangaluru: Yes, Mangaluru unlock starts with traffic jams, dug-up roads; people say ‘disappointed in Mangaluru City Corporation and district Administration. As the state government and District Administration announced the lockdown relaxations, people took to roads on Wednesday, 23 June. However, they were met with dug up roads, incomplete civic works and loads of potholes. Several people have started criticising the MCC and District Administration, and also the Mangaluru Smart City Limited and other agencies and also questioned why the work could not be completed during the lockdown period itself. The Smart City projects, especially road constructions have caused the traffic to snarl up and the roads had been shrunk due to the digging process. In some cases, one side of the road was completely blocked.
One citizen said that there was no difference in the condition of the roads from the pre-lockdown period. The ongoing work has made the situation much worse. One main reason which the officials of MCC and MSCL give is that they have been busy with the Covid-19 situation in the city, and also that several machines were not available and the people who were working with them also left during the lockdown. Despite that, they said that several roads in the city have been completed- which is ABSOLUTELY not true. None of the new roads started pre-Covid-19 are still incomplete, with all the mess left behind. You hardly see any labourers at the worksite. Doesn’t make any sense, why would the officials of MCC and MSCL wanted to take up a bunch of road work or drainage work all at the same time, when they knew that they were short of workers.
And the worst part is that where the road works or drainage are going on, construction debris, piles of mud, sand and asphalt on the side of the road occupies nearly half of the road. And even though there are new drainage constructed in many parts of the City, water is still seen flowing onto the road, resulting in floods. So what good is it to have built these new drainages? Rainwater has entered many shops and houses during the recent rains, and the same problems will continue when heavy rains lash the City.
Commuting inside the City has been a nightmare for Mangalureans and outsiders today, as most of the arterial roads have been dug up, either for road widening or for other development works. While most of the roads are dug for widening, few other roads are totally closed for Underground Drainage works, either by MSCL or MCC. Incomplete works near Kankanady Market, Hampankatta, Light House Hill Road, Bunder areas, Car street, M G Road, K S Rao Road, S L Mathias Road, among others- and also the pedestrian underpass are blocking the movement of traffic in the City. It will be a worse situation when city buses resume their services.
Activist Sowraj of Mangaluru in his video which has gone viral says, “Our officials and peoples’ representatives could not take the initiative to complete Smart City works when roads were closed during the lockdown. The City is witnessing traffic snarls during this partial lockdown with limited time allowed for shopping or be on the roads. Imagine what will happen if lockdown is completely lifted”. Most of the roads in the city do not have a drainage system for the rainwater to flow. It is a common scene near Ambedkar Circle, K S Rao Road and Rao & Rao Circle to get clogged with water with little rain. In front of the Bejai KSRTC bus stand, rainwater creates a pond. Pedestrians face inconvenience to walk at this place. These issues have been prevailing for many years and the public is waiting for the city corporation to do something about them.
Meanwhile, MSCL Managing Director Prashanth Kumar Mishra speaking to media has said, “Currently, 34 Smart City projects including roads, UGD, construction of a surgical block in Wenlock hospital and a swimming pool are in progress. I do agree that there is a delay in the work, but we have been giving emphasis to expedite the work, without causing inconveniences to the people. We will continue the work in the unlock phase, after holding discussions with the district administration and police, ensuring minimal inconvenience to the public”. Well said by Mishra, but looking at the present situation of the road or UGD works, they are totally putting the motorists and pedestrians in hardships and inconveniences.
Also speaking on the work of Underpass near Town Hall, which is an MSCL project, Mishra said, “The project will take a few more months to get completed. We have completed one portion of the Underpass, and the work on the other side is progressing. The work is expected to be completed within three months after the monsoon”. But the question many citizens are asking is that “Will it be three months or three more years for the Underpass to complete, just like the Pumpwell Flyover which took ten years to complete?
In conclusion, One thing for sure, that you’ll all agree with me is that-Digging of roads/streets/bye-lanes will never stop in Mangaluru no matter what- and we have seen it and will see it in future too. Without proper planning, new roads are constructed, and after a while, the new roads are dug to lay cables or utility lines- and when such work is going on it creates a mess, with traffic and pedestrians facing the brunt of it. Until the work is fully completed, pedestrians have to bear with all these inconveniences and also there would be traffic snarls which will be an added nightmare. Now that these roads/footpaths have been dug, it will be a long long time before they are fully restored to the original condition- and that has been the situation in the past and will also be in future too? And even if you complain or highlight in the media, every Official from top to bottom is least bothered about the inconveniences faced by the people- and the only thing that they have in mind is HOW TO POCKET SOME EXTRA BUCKS out of these projects.