Staff Correspondent

Not all of them are authorised, but people seem to be unconcerned

People in the vicinity mistake trenches to be part of development work

Some are dug to gain illegal electricity, water-line connections

MANGALORE: What is disconcerting about the innumerable trenches that cut through the city’s roads is the cynicism with which people in the immediate vicinity view the nuisance.

The fact that not all trenches are commissioned by an authorised civic body is lost on the people who seem to accept them as an integral part of a road’s physical feature.

During random visits to several such spots in the city, it was found that not a single person in the vicinity was able to throw light on the persons who had dug up the roads or the purpose of the defacement.

The Karnataka Urban Development and Coastal Environment Management Project (KUDCEMP) has been undertaking a majority of the underground drainage works in the city and a sizeable number of trenches can be associated with this project.

However, as was evident at a few places, some people seem to have used the KUDCEMP project as a cover. For instance, there is a trench in front of the archway outside the zilla panchayat office. The trench snakes its way across the road and ends at the base of a lamp-post inside the walls of a neighbouring firm.

Public attitude

When some passers-by and shopkeepers were asked, they were of the belief that the trench was dug as part of urban development project. It was only when it was pointed out that the trench heads straight to a lamp-post that a clerk, who was on his way to the ZP office, remarked: “I never looked at it that way.”

In another instance of similar nature near the Babugudda en-route KMC Attavara, it was found that a trench led straight into one of the large houses in the vicinity. People in the neighbourhood believed that it was part of an urban development project.

Narrow roads running through residential areas seem to have suffered the greatest mutilation. At Mahakalipadapu, a neighbourhood in Jeppu, the roads are scarred beyond recognition. Autorickshaw drivers either refuse to take passengers there or tend to charge extra.

Thukarama, resident, claims that people here dug the roads for all sorts of reasons. Some did it to erect temporary canopies during festivals while others to get illegal access to electricity and water sources.

“Repairing these roads is not on the agenda of people who destroyed them and surely not in the scheme of things of the administration,” he says.

One might be inclined to believe that the bone-jarring dugouts are a feature peculiar to inner roads but this assumption may not be far from truth. For instance, there are 13 trenches on the 1.5-km stretch between the Corporation Bank headquarters at Pandeshwar and the Mangaladevi temple at Bolar. There are 11 trenches on a 2.5 km stretch that connects Marnamikatte via Attavara to the Mangalore Central Railway Station. The 400-m road that connects Bunts Hostel with the Jyothi Cinema Circle has three trenches.

The monitoring agency that oversees the KUDCEMP project is: Mott Mac Donald Private Ltd. The Head of the organisation, V. Hanumanthalu, explains that once a trench is dug the final restoration can happen only after a rainy season, which is the time it takes for soil compaction. He says that the trenches dug by people under his jurisdiction will be filled up in time.