Nanthoor-Talapady stretch of NH 17 was asphalted in 2006

Anish Kumar, an automobile spare parts dealer at Marnamikatta, had to shift the venue of his birthday celebrations a week ago from a place near Kasaragod (Kerala) to Surathkal because his friends were unwilling to travel on the stretch between Nanthoor and Talapady on National Highway 17.

Government officials blamed iron ore-laden lorries for the poor condition of NH 48 and NH 17 between Karwar and Mangalore. But no trucks are plying on this stretch now, he said and asked how the entire stretch could give away. He attributed the condition of the road to poor quality of work and lack of maintenance.

Ananthakrishna Bhat from Kumble (Kerala), a battery dealer, said it was strenuous to travel on the stretch. Buses needed about 20 minutes extra time because of the poor condition of the road, he said.

Anish Kumar, who manages an advertising agency at Kasaragod, has cut his visits to Mangalore from twice a week to once or twice a month. “I do not want to travel by the highway. Its condition has deteriorated to this extent for the first time in 15 years of my business journeys,” he said. Ganesh, who teaches physics at Mangalore University, says he now avoids driving his car between Nanthoor Circle and Mogeru on NH 17. He takes the route that passes through Morgan's Gate instead. Umesh Kamath, Assistant Executive Engineer, Mangalore division of the State National Highways, told The Hindu that the Nanthoor-Thokkottu stretch was asphalted in 2006. Subsequently, the division had not received any funds for asphalting because it would be handed over to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). There was little that the division could do now because of the monsoon. The stretch would be handed over to NHAI after filling up the potholes, he said. A senior NHAI engineer said that any highway would have a lifespan based on the flow of traffic. “Unless they are relaid at regular intervals, the surface will wear out,” he said and added that the NHAI had written to the NH division to hand over the stretch in good condition.

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