A 75-km stretch of NH9 through Bidar and Humnabad is badly damaged

All those who choose to travel from Hyderabad to Mumbai on National Highway 9 begin regretting their decision as soon as they enter Karnataka.

The 75-km stretch passing through Bidar, Humnabad and Basava Kalyan taluks in Karnataka is badly damaged. Road maintenance from Bhangur Cross to Umarga stopped five years ago, pending widening.

“The road is so bad that we are forced to drive at 20 km per hour,” said Parameshwar Arya, a Humanbad-based businessman. Earlier it used to take just two and a half hours to reach Hyderabad, now it takes at least five hours, he said..

Recent rain has further damaged the road. Officials cite a technical glitch on taking up maintenance. An engineer with the Pubic Works Department (PWD) said all maintenance stopped in 2007 after the Union government decided to upgrade the road to a four-lane one. All works related to the road were transferred to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

The four-laning process has commenced and the tender has been awarded to Larsen & Toubro, which is awaiting clearances from the State government for land acquisition and stone quarrying, said an NHAI engineer. He added, “We cannot push the contractors to speed up the work as they are protected by political leaders with vested interests.”

Bidar Deputy Commissioner P.C. Jaffer, however, said the government has completed land acquisition and issued necessary permits. The work should commence soon.

The quality of the other roads, such as the State highways (SH), in this sparsely-networked district is also not good.

While all SH and major district roads (MDRs) require urgent repairs, some need complete relaying.

Among the notoriously bad roads is the Bidar-Aurad–Nanded Road, used by countless pilgrims travelling between Gurudwara Guru Nanak Jhira in Bidar and Nanded and southwestern Maharashtra districts.

The road laid on black cotton soil has caved in at many places and is dotted with large potholes.

“Aurad residents have been complaining to the authorities to improve the road, but in vain,” said Gurunath Wadde, a member of the Jan Sangharsha Samiti, who approached the High Court seeking improvement of the State Highways.

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