BJP not opposed to the highway, but to it passing through Udupi

BJP candidate for Udupi-Chikmagalur parliamentary constituency Shobha Karandlaje said on Saturday that the proposed National Highway 169A connecting Tirthahalli to Udupi will pass through the heart of Udupi and vertically divide the (Udupi) city, affecting several persons.

She was speaking at the inaugural function of a padayatra organised by the BJP against the NH 169A passing from Parkala to Karavali Junction in Udupi, here.

Ms. Karandlaje said Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Oscar Fernandes should immediately announce that the proposed NH 169A would not pass through Udupi city. If the highway passed through the city, it would lead to demolition of several buildings and affect the lives of a large number of people. “Since Mr. Fernandes is heading the Ministry, he is in a position to prevent the proposed highway from entering Udupi,” she said.

The former MLA Raghupati Bhat said the BJP was not against the conversion of Tirthahalli-Udupi State Highway into NH 169A. It was only against the NH 169A passing through and dividing Udupi city. “The Union government could consider alternative routes for NH 169A such as Brahmavar-Karje-Hebri or K.G. Road-Uppoor roads,” he said.

‘Unnecessary’

She said when the BJP came to power in the State six years ago, it had widened the Udupi-Manipal Road into an 80-feet road. This wide road was serving the people of the city well. There was no need to further widen it for the sake of NH 169A, she said. “This ‘padayatra’ is not a fight for elections, but a fight for the rights of people,” she said.

During the seven-year rule of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, nearly Rs. 500 crore was spent on development of Udupi district, Ms. Karandlaje said. There was hardly any development in the Udupi-Chikmagalur constituency after the Congress candidate K. Jayaprakash Hegde became the MP two years ago, she alleged.

When the Union government had decided to ban areca nut, Mr. Hegde had not protested enough against the move. Areca nut was commonly used in the region and it did not lead to any health problem. It was tobacco which led to health problems, Ms. Karandlaje said.

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