‘It will boost economic growth in coastal region'

State's Tier II cities lack infrastructure and facilities are abysmal. For economic growth of the State, infrastructure development is important, J.R. Bangera, president of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI), has said.

In a press release issued here on Thursday, he urged the Union Minister for Surface Transport to strengthen national highway 48. The government must take note of the bad condition of NH 48 and the Shiradi Ghat stretch on the highway, particularly the stretch between Sakleshpur and Mangalore. It was essential to quickly strengthen NH 48 to boost economic development in the coastal region as it connected the hinterland with New Mangalore Port. All national highways in the State should be free of potholes and humps, he added.

Importers and exporters depended on New Mangalore Port, the only major port in the State. However, the port was inaccessible as connectivity to Mangalore had been affected owing to the bad condition of the Shiradi Ghat stretch. Movement of heavy trucks had damaged the road. The bad condition of the road had affected the movement of goods, passengers, tourists and pilgrims visiting the coastal region. It also posed a safety threat to passengers and vehicles at night, he said.

The Mysore-Mangalore State highway played an important role in the economic development of the two regions as it was used for movement of goods to New Mangalore Port and by tourists visiting shrines. A 40-km stretch between Mani and Sampaje on this State highway was not motorable owing to potholes, causing severe loss of revenue to Dakshina Kannada, especially to tourism, trade and industry. The government should fix a timeframe for widening of the road between Mani and Sampaje, Mr. Bangera said.

The Mysore-Mangalore highway via Madikeri also needed urgent attention as it served as an alternative route between Bangalore and Mangalore. The lacklustre response of the State government to infrastructure development would be to its own peril, especially as the Global Investors Meet (GIM) was about to take place in June next. Foreign investors would invest in the State only if there was good infrastructure, he said.