40 families have been using a breakwater to reach main road
In the absence of a road, about 40 families in the Jeppinamogaru Ullal Hoige (Hoige) area are forced to use a breakwater of the Netravati to reach National Highway 17, from where they board a bus to travel to the city.
Halfway through the breakwater is a metre-wide rickety bridge made up of metal sheets. Supported by stilts, the bridge has holes wide enough for a small child to fall through. It is all the more dangerous, because it does not have a hand rail for support.
“During the monsoon, the winds are strong enough to blow away a person. The water level rises and it is too dangerous to let children take this route to go to their school.
For three months, we hire a vehicle to take the children to school and back,” said Valentine D'Souza, a house wife. The school is just a few minutes walk after crossing the bridge.
To get to the city, most people in the area use the breakwater as it is a shorter route compared to walking to the highway by road (via Thokkotu). “But, if we need medical services or household items, we have to walk to Thokkotu,” says Jacintha Veigas (65), a vegetable-seller.
She too uses the breakwater and the bridge to commute to Jeppu market, and her grandchildren use it to reach their school in Aadam Kudru.
Another woman said that although the uneven stone surface of the breakwater was a bit difficult to negotiate, the alternative — travelling via Thokkotu — was tedious, as the distance is too long.
Those returning to Hoige have either to walk for about 25 minutes or hire an autorickshaw from Thokkotu for Rs. 25 to reach home, said Veena D'Souza, who works as an assistant nurse in a hospital in the city.
The road does not present a rosy picture either. One half of this road (from Thokkotu to Hoige) falls in the jurisdiction of the Ullal Town Panchayat and it has been tarred and reasonably well-maintained. The other half falls in Mangalore City Corporation limits and is yet to get asphalted.
Demi D'Souza, a resident who has been frequently appealing to the corporation authorities to lay an asphalt road, said, “The corporation has been delaying the construction of its portion for several years. A contractor has been assigned the work, but it has not yet begun.”
Mr. D'Souza also feels that the 40 houses in the area should be included in the Ullal Town Panchayat. “After the Ullal Town Panchayat was set up, the people there have seen much development.
Also, we use a road that comes under the town panchayat, but pay tax to the corporation,” he said.
Nagendra Kumar, corporator for the Jeppinamogaru, hoped that the problems would be solved soon. He told The Hindu that the delay in laying the road was largely because the corporation had to obtain permission from the railway authorities for the work as the area was very close to the Netravati railway bridge. “I have spoken to the contractor and directed him to start the work from Monday. The bridge will also be repaired within two months.”