Condemning the government’s apathy in connecting the state’s coastal districts to the capital Bengaluru, a group of youngsters started a campaign for redressal of the ghat section on the Mangaluru-Bengaluru highway.
At the onset of the Kodagu floods and landslides, a few roads (Shiradi and Sampaje) were marked closed by district officials. Some like-minded individuals, mostly Mangaluru natives who work in Bengaluru, thought it would be the right time to highlight the poor road connectivity between Mangaluru and Bengaluru – a lingering problem for many years now. Subsequently, they formed a WhatsApp group to create awareness on the poor road conditions and started the #ConnectUsToMangalore campaign.
While the issue of road connectivity between the two districts has existed for years, the recent Kodagu floods has given the matter a new fillip.
Concerned about the safety of motorists falling victim to landslides in the region, district authorities suspended vehicular movement on the Shiradi and Sampaje Ghats. However, due to the sudden rerouting, the density of vehicles on the Charmadi Ghats increased.
“One of my friend left Bangalore at 8PM last night via Charmadi Ghats. He has still not reached Udupi. Its almost 14 hours now. This is getting worse day by day. #connectUsToMangalore,” (sic) one person wrote on Twitter. He was one among the many
With the hashtag ConnectUsToMangalore, the tech-savvy volunteers have been reaching out to Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, among other leaders. They demand all-weather, pothole-free roads that would allow motorable vehicles on the road. While trains and flights are other options, travellers decry the mode as highly expensive.
During the Kodagu and Kerala floods that affected the bus and train services, Karnataka Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation DV Sadananda Gowda took to Twitter to lash out against the steep hike in air tickets.
"Private Airlines are at a money making Shame!! Today Mangalore to Bengaluru ticket rate sky-rocketed to Rs. 18,000. This route’s average rate is never more than Rs. 4,000. It’s time to introduce more flights @jayantsinha,” (sic) he tweeted.
After Sadananda Gowda’s tweet and complaints from other passengers, the Ministry of Civil Aviation issued a statement on August 17 asking airlines to cap fares for flights operating to and from Kerala and to nearby airports such as Mangaluru and Coimbatore.
While Public Works Department Minister HD Revanna inaugurated a 12.4-km stretch between Addaholey to Kempuholey on the Shiradi Ghat on July 15, the roads were closed in August owing to flooding.
Dakshina Kannada deputy commissioner S Sasikanth Senthil issued a revised order on August 25 banning movement of all vehicles on the Mangaluru-Bengaluru Shiradi Ghat NH-75 stretch until further orders. The DC had first issued the ban from August 16 to August 25. The revised order has upheld the earlier ban until further orders for the safety of passengers travelling on this stretch.
Meanwhile, the proposal to start an 8-km tunnel pitched as a long-term solution at a cost of Rs 12,000 crore is yet to materialise.
Story by www.storyinfinity.com (Subs and Scribes Media Ventures LLP).