While it is a smooth drive from Bangalore to Donigal, off Sakleshpur (233 km) which can be reached in about three hours by car, it takes at least two hours to negotiate the 30 km stretch of Shiradi Ghat section from Donigal to Gundya.

The 30-km stretch of Shiradi Ghat between Sakleshpur and Gundya on National Highway 48, a vital link between Bangalore and coastal Karnataka, continues to be in an awful state even two months after the south-monsoon ended.

Even a month after Minister for Forests B. Ramanath Rai announcing that temporary repair works would be undertaken on the ghat stretch, the road continues to be in a bad state. Only a handful of workers were seen filing the potholes with traditional method near Donigal when The Hindu visited the spot on Monday. Still, Public Works Department Secretary K.M. Chikkarayappa said that Rs. 5 crore had been released a fortnight ago and the pothole-filling work was in full swing.

While it is a smooth drive from Bangalore to Donigal, off Sakleshpur (233 km) which can be reached in about three hours by car, it takes at least two hours to negotiate the 30 km stretch of Shiradi Ghat section from Donigal to Gundya. The bitumen surface on the ghat section, which had recently been repaired at a cost of about Rs. 40 crore, is completely worn out.

Road-users as well as residents of the area critical of the government’s inaction. Subhash, who resides off Kempuhole Reserve Forest, said it was unfortunate that Shiradi Ghat continued to be in a pathetic condition despite Union Minister Oscar Fernandes being at the helm of affairs at the national level. N. Uday Kumar, who regularly drives a private tourist bus between Bangalore and Udupi, said bus drivers negotiated the stretch at normal speeds as they had to keep up the timing. In the process, the vehicle got damaged and also passengers were put to severe discomfort. Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners’ Association general secretary K. Radhakrishna Holla was critical about the government apathy on maintaining the road. Besides connecting Mangalore and other coastal towns of business interest, Shiradi Ghat also links tourist places. Channakeshava Bhat, a resident of Kundapur, said even if one intended to travel by train because of the poor road condition, berths were not easily available since there was only one overnight train connecting Bangalore with Karwar. “Karnataka has two Ministers concerned with travel — Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge (Railways) and Mr. Fernandes (Road Transport and Highways). Still, it was of little help to travellers,” Mr. Bhat regretted.

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