National Highway 48 passing through Hassan district is a travesty of a road
Vehicles take at least two hours to cross the 35-km stretch from Manjarabad to Gundia (Shiradi Ghat). And wait, taxis charge 50 paisa extra a kilometre on this route.
This stretch, which is part of National Highway 48 (Bangalore-Mangalore), is a picture of neglect. This is true of many roads that interconnect different parts of the State, particularly Bangalore with coastal districts and Mysore with northern parts of Karnataka.
Hassan, once the district of political bigwigs, appears to have lost its clout and the poor state of the roads in the district reflects this.
The two roads, which connect Hassan with neighbouring districts — Shiradi Ghat on NH 48 and Hassan-Chiknayakanahalli Road via Tiptur — are in bad shape.
It has been an annual ritual for commuters of NH 48 to whine about the poor condition of Shiradi Ghat during monsoons. This route has swallowed up several crores of rupees in repairs.
The road witnessed some repair during the tenure of D.V. Sadananda Gowda as Chief Minister when Rs. 6 crore was spent on it. Though the National Highways division of the State Public Works Department (PWD) has submitted a proposal for repair of this stretch at Rs. 28 crore, the NHAI is yet to approve it.
Failure of the authorities to strengthen the road in spite of the increased traffic volume is the reason for its poor condition. While the NHAI is talking of a tunnel-road on this stretch, commuters appear to be destined to face hardship till the proposal becomes a reality.
Next comes the 74-km Hassan-Chiknayakanahalli stretch, part of SH 71 till Tiptur in neighbouring Tumkur district, which is even more worse for wear, particularly till Dudda, a distance of about 20 km. Residents of the area are aghast with the lackadaisical attitude of authorities to make repairs. At Dudda, the SH 102 that connects Arsikere-Holenarasipura and joins SH 71, is slightly better than Chiknayakanahalli Road.
Though upgradation of Hassan-Chiknayakanahalli Road was taken up by Karnataka Road Development Corporation Ltd., (KRDCL) at a cost of Rs. 241 crore in January 2012, there is little change. The government too seems to be turning a blind eye to it, claim residents.
On the other hand, NH 48 on the Channarayapatna-Hassan-Sakaleshpur-Manjarabad route is in good condition, having recently been re-asphalted. Four-laning of this stretch is under way by the NHAI. The Holenarasipr-Hassan Road and Hassan-Belur Road, part of SH 57 (Bagalkot-Bilirangana Betta) also gets a tick, having been reconstructed by the KRDCL a few years ago.