A visit by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu to the port city of Mangaluru will be a blessing for some of its residents. With the impending visit on November 2 to National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Suratkal for its convocation, authorities want to ensure that the VVIP has a bump-free ride.
This comes after days of discontent among residents over the poor state of roads and the alleged apathy of the Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in fixing it.
Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner Sindhu B Rupesh held a meeting with concerned officials and asked them to undertake immediate repair work including in the stretch of highway from Kulur to the NIT.
Following the meet chaired by the Deputy Commissioner, concerned officials have now divided the road stretch into three small parts amongst themselves.
TNM had earlier reported how earlier in the month, people in the city had joined in protests after a 33-year-old social activist Arjun Mascharenas went on a silent-solo-protest. The protest was two weeks after some activists had held a protest at the Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) headquarters and even met the top officials.
The protests had triggered a kneejerk reaction from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). Officials had then done some patchwork in the damaged stretch at Nanthoor Circle towards Mangaluru city centre. But overall the state of roads remain grim with the Mangalore City Corporation polls scheduled to be held on November 12.
But even then activists pointed out that while the main highway on which the Vice President will travel is getting repaired, there is no work done to improve the service roads.
Gopal Krishna Bhat, a civic activist based in the city, said, “In Mangaluru, we have three culprits—-the MCC, the NHAI and the state PWD department. While it is true the rains have been relentless since June, the bad quality of roads can’t be ignored. This is a well-known system to make money for the contractors now. They don’t do simple road laying properly. So, every time it rains, everything washes away. 20-30 years back too, it used to rain but roads were not this bad.”
He alleged, “Some roads are so bad that there is no tar left. People can grow crops there if they want to. And no politician is better than the other. We have written a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office and Nitin Gadkari (Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways) as well but there has been no improvement.”
TNM could not reach the Deputy Commissioner’s office for a comment.