Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda had expressed serious concern over the tardy progress of work on the road and had threatened to take action against the contractor many times.

Mohammed Chisti, a shopkeeper from Kabaka, is unhappy over the recently laid stretch of Mani-Sampaje road passing through his shop. “Road is already coming off here. There is every chance of loaded trucks overturning here. The retaining wall might collapse anytime,” he says showing the road that goes over a stream. The retaining wall has collapsed about 100 metres away from the spot.

Mr. Chisti is among the many residents unhappy with the way the Mani-Sampaje road work is being executed. The unhappiness is not only with the slow pace of work, but also with its poor quality.

“I have not seen any road project taking so much of time. As the condition of the road is bad I do not take tourists on this road,” says Devaraj N, a taxi driver from Puttur.

The newly built road is part of the 72-km Mani-Sampaje road project taken up at a cost of Rs. 180 crore. Work on a 30-km stretch of the road has been declared to have been completed. Work is in various stages of completion on the remaining part of the stretch, giving tough time for motorists. The deadline given to the contractor ended on Wednesday.

Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda had expressed serious concern over the tardy progress of work on the road and had threatened to take action against the contractor many times. People do not find that it has had the desired effect.

Karnataka Road Development Corporation had assigned the project to Hyderabad-based KMC Constructions. The agency started work in 2010 and it was asked to complete it by June 20. According to KRDCL Managing Director B.H. Anil Kumar, the agency has completed work on a 30-km stretch of the road till Puttur. “Work is not as per our expectation,” Mr. Kumar told The Hindu on Thursday.

Except for the brief stretch near Mani, there is no permanent drain along the road till Puttur. “They have dug up the drain and placed heaps of mud along the road causing inconvenience to motorists,” said Ramanna of Kabaka. Mr. Ramanna showed a turn near Polya where a bus skid off the road and fell into a ditch 10 days ago. “Luckily no one was injured as the bus was stuck between two trees,” he said.

The condition of Puttur bypass road has gone from bad to worse, where motorists have to pass a bumpy stretch wading through water flowing from the nearby hillock. “Many motorists visit my garage to repair their damaged vehicles every day. Most of them are from outside. Local people avoid using the bypass road,” said Prashant, a car mechanic. The condition of the road beyond Kumbra was bad, he added.

Deputy Commissioner N.S. Channappa Gowda said the Hyderbad-based agency was yet to build the final layer of the road between Mani and Puttur. Nalin Kumar Kateel, MP, said any complaint over execution of work between Mani and Puttur would be addressed by the contractor.

Mr. Anil Kumar said work on Mani-Sampaje road would be completed by March 2013. He said the deadline would be extended to complete the work. “There were some issues related to finances (with the agency) which had been sorted out. The Government has made an additional allocation of Rs. 3 crore,” he said.

He said the agency had been told not to undertake any earth excavation work during monsoon and also to remove the mud dumped along the road. The agency had been told to build bridges and culverts and take up other civil work during the season.

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