An SMS for Ganesh Chaturthi and Id-ul-Fitr that is making the rounds among mobile phone-users here states that even criminals cannot find an escape route from Mangalore “because of the poor condition of roads”.

Probably, the condition of National Highway 17, particularly the stretch between Mahaveer Circle and Nanthoor Circle, cannot be described better.

“You no longer have a road here” (at Mahaveer Circle, which is the main entry point to the city from Kerala and Bangalore), said Dinesh, an artist at Jeppu. “It is a shame on Mangalore to welcome people like this,” he added.

Mr. Dinesh said that he had a narrow escape when he lost control of his two-wheeler while negotiating this circle 10 days ago. “I escaped with minor injuries,” he said.

He said that the condition of the road at Mahaveer Circle was bad during the last monsoon too. They just filled up the potholes after the monsoon was over. “Its condition only exposes the poor quality of work done by the Mangalore division of the State National Highways. There are craters now, not potholes,” he said.

Bhasker, a transport operator, said that the state of the highway in front of the Karnataka Bank headquarters, near Mahaveer Circle, was worse than that of the road at the circle. This showed the insensitivity of elected representatives to the problems of the people, Mr. Bhasker said.

The newly elected president of the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry, G.G. Mohandas Prabhu, described the elected representatives and some bureaucrats as “absolutely insensitive”.

Mr. Prabhu said that he was sure that the advances in road technology would have a solution to repair roads even in wet conditions.

He said that there was not much difference between the rainfall in Goa and Dakshina Kannada. The number of vehicles was more in Goa than in Mangalore. Even then, the tarred roads there were in good condition. This was indicative of the quality of work done here, he said.

He attributed the problem to lack of political will and said that the KCCI would organise an interactive meeting with the Mayor on September 17 on the problems being faced by the people here because of poor roads Basavarajappa, a retired superintending engineer of the Public Works Department, said that the immediate solution to this problem was to lay wet mix macadam (WMM) on such stretches. However, the WMM should be mixed according to the prescribed standards and applied at regular intervals till the monsoon was over.

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