Expansion will destroy a centuries-old Ashoka tree, 30 shops, 200 houses

Claiming that the proposed widening of National Highway 75 between Hassan and B.C. Road will lead to the destruction of Kalladka town, a residents’ association has demanded that the government instead seek an alternative bypass route around the town.

Addressing presspersons in Mangalore on Friday, Shivashankar Bhat, president of the National Highway Victims’ Action Committee, said nearly 30 shops, 200 houses and even a centuries-old Ashoka tree will be lost due to the four-laning of the highway.

“Kalladka market has a long history attached to it, and all this will be destroyed when the road will be widened to 45 metres,” he said.

The committee also claimed the “culture” of Kalladka will be lost, while the increased vehicular speed will lead to a large number of accidents on the stretch passing through the busy market.

An alternative route that bypasses the town by passing through Baltila and Pannemagalur has been identified, but the NHAI has not yet responded to this, Mr. Bhat said. “Most of the land in this is government land, and there are very few residents,” he said.

The committee said they have studied the effects of the widening of National Highway 66 at Brahmavar and Kapu, and said they do not want the wanton dumping of mud and destruction of the market at their town.

“The plan now is to elevate the road to 15 feet high by dumping mud across the market and constructing two underpasses for Kalladka. This has already created fear, and we know that the ethos of the town will be destroyed,” he said.

The committee has submitted a memorandum to Union minister for Highways and Surface Transport Oscar Fernandes, and will soon submit it to the Chief Minister.

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