People blame it on lack of drains, footpath

“The Government does not understand our pain. Only the mother who lost her son the other day in the accident at Valencia will know the pain,” said Rajan, a pedestrian on the pothole-ridden road near the Pandeshwar railway level-crossing.

He was referring to a 100-m stretch near the railway tracks at Pandeshwar, which has motorists and pedestrians fuming.

The road was slick with mud and ridden with potholes on Friday morning after nearly a week of heavy rain. Traffic moved at a snail's pace, even as the two-wheeler riders struggled to find some spot around the potholes.

Mohammed Shabeer, an autorickshaw driver who takes the route regularly, said, “I have to take six children to school every morning. Every time I pass this area, I get worried about their safety.”

He said it was hard to drive on the stretch during rain when it was flooded. The situation was made worse because vehicle-users had to wait on the flooded stretch for up to half an hour whenever a train passed by.

“I don't know why they have not built any drains here so far,” he said.

John, a deliveryman from Jeppu, grumbled while carrying a box on his head. He said he had to deliver the box to a hotel by the roadside twice a day, but preferred to leave his truck near an apartment complex 200 m away because of the poor condition of the road.

“It's easier walking on this stretch. I do not want to drive my vehicle here,” he said. This muddy stretch is an anomaly that lies between the the concrete road connecting A.B. Shetty Circle to Emmekere Cross Road.

This stretch is beyond the jurisdiction of the district authorities as the land belongs to the Railways.

Ajith Karkera, a restaurant owner, said that the absence of drainage had forced him to construct cement levees around his shop to prevent water from flowing in when the road was flooded. “I am worried about heavy rain,” he said.

Many people criticised the authorities for not providing a drain. Ranjan, a pedestrian, said a footpath must be built at the earliest to make it safer for pedestrians. “If two buses happen to pass each other here, pedestrians have nowhere to go” said Mr. Shabeer.

The slushy road has adversely affected business at a nearby corporate chain outlet. “We saw a 30 per cent drop in the walk-in customers last week after the rains started,” said Ranjan, store manager.

“Most of them do not want to park vehicles on slushy roads,” he said, as he pointed at the two-inch-deep potholes outside his store. “Customers have been complaining that they feel uncomfortable coming to the store because of the condition of the road,” he said.

More In: Mangaluru