In order to repair the roads in the district that have been ravaged by the prolonged monsoon season, the Union government has sanctioned Rs. 42 crore under the Central Road Fund, said district in-charge Minister B. Ramanath Rai here on Friday.
At an interaction meet organised by the Federation of Karnataka Commerce and Industries (FKCCI), Mr. Rai said that Dakshina Kannada has received a fair share of the fund — which is a corpus of the Rs. 2 cess per litre on diesel and petrol. Udupi too, he said, has been given a similar amount. This will be used to asphalt badly damaged roads, and works would start “soon” he said.
Similarly, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, U.T. Khader said the road repair work could be undertaken now as monsoon has ended. Among the major projects to be undertaken, he said, was upgrading the stretch from Thokottu leading to Infosys that passes through Mangalore University, at a cost of Rs. 7.5 crore.
Roads in the region, in particular the four-laning of National Highway 75 connecting Mangalore to Bangalore, dominated the majority of the demands presented to the ministers by the FKCCI. Developing tourism was also stressed by the industry body.
“We will pressure the Union Government to relax the coastal Regulatory Zone norms in the State, in the same way it has been relaxed for Kerala and Goa,” said Mr. Rai, who holds the portfolio of Minister of Forest, Environment and Ecology.
Responding to the concerns of the industry which claimed to have their growth hit due to stringent procedures for environmental clearances, the Minister said, “A high-level committee has been formed to visit all major industries and gauge the pollution emitted. Based on this, appropriate decisions can be made.”
The other demands presented by R. Shivakumar, president of FKCCI, included better rail connectivity to the port city by introducing a direct train from here to Bangalore, upgrading Mangalore International Airport and a non-Bangalore oriented development policy for the rest of the State.