Mangaluru

Union Minister promises NH 66 completion by December, but ‘what about the flaws’?

As against Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari’s claim of 92% completion of work of widening NH66 to four lanes between Kundapur and Goa border, the highway is not wider than two lanes in a lot of places, including Bhatkal.

As against Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari’s claim of 92% completion of work of widening NH66 to four lanes between Kundapur and Goa border, the highway is not wider than two lanes in a lot of places, including Bhatkal. | Photo Credit: ANIL KUMAR SASTRY

Incomplete stretches in important towns, collection of an average ₹100 each at three toll plazas, landslip-prone hill cuttings at many places and an incomplete flyover in Karwar town... And yet, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has claimed that 173 km out of 187 km (92%) of National Highway 66, which is being widened to four lanes between Kundapur and Goa border, will be completed by December 2022.

In a series of tweets on July 2, Mr. Gadkari said the four-lane project was nearing completion. “Aimed at providing a world-class road infrastructure experience to travellers, the alignment connects major cities & towns, including Panvel, Chiplun, Ratnagiri, Panaji, Margao, Karwar, Udupi, Surathkal, Mangalore, Kozhikode, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram & Kanyakumari.”

The contract was awarded to IRB Westcoast Tollway Pvt. Ltd. in August 2012 on build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis. The four-lane project, being executed by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), was supposed to be completed in 991 days.

Residents respond to Minister

Many took to Twitter to respond to Mr. Gadkari.

Neelesh Pai said Kumta, Honnavar and Bhatkal were not touched at all. Vilas Hebbar pointed out that while the road quality is pathetic, toll is collected at Shirur (₹90), Holegadde (₹95) and Belekeri (₹100).

Vineeth Shetty remarked: ‘Eight years and still incomplete’.

Ganesh Bhat, a Bhatkal resident, said a 10-km stretch of the four-lane highway between Kundapur and Trasi offers a ‘roller-coaster experience’ owing to uneven road surface.

Devidas Nayak from Kumta said Mr. Gadkari’s claim of 92% completion was only to justify collection of toll despite the fact that drivers have to face bottlenecks at many places on the 187-km stretch.

Vasanth Kumar from Karwar said the contractor did not provide proper rainwater drainage facility in Arga and Chandiya villages near Karwar as a result of which the highway ‘looks like a river’ during rains. Some stretches of the road in Kumta, Honnavar and Bhatkal towns have not been touched. The worst part, Mr. Kumar said, is that residents of Kumta still do not know whether the highway will pass through the town or a bypass is in the works. There was a lot of lobbying from political circles and the NHAI was unable to resolve the issue.

The hills between Karwar and Kumta that were cut were not stabilised or protected, resulting in frequent landslips during rains. Consequently, one of the two carriageways is often closed for traffic, he said.

Two tunnels in Karwar are yet to be completed.

Mr. Kumar said it is physically impossible to complete the project by December 2022 as claimed by Mr. Gadkari.


Our code of editorial values

  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.

Printable version | Jul 5, 2022 5:37:01 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/despite-nh-66-being-incomplete-and-flawed-union-minister-nitin-gadkari-promises-completion-by-december-2022/article65601975.ece