The Congress launched a broadside against the BJP for the scheduled inauguration of the Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway on Sunday on the grounds that it was being rushed through despite pending works that may take another 6 to 8 months for completion.
The former Public Works Minister H.C. Mahadevappa and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) spokesperson M. Lakshman told media persons here on Friday that civil works and underpasses are yet to be completed at many places. A against 34 underpasses only 22 are complete and against 12 overpasses only 6 have been completed, they said. The initial cost of the project was ₹3,000 crore has now escalated and is likely to touch ₹12,000 crore, according to the Congress leaders.
Mr. Mahadevappa furnished records of the questions and answers provided in the Legislative Council about the progress of the road and said that it clearly indicates that the project was initiated during the period of the Congress. The project received in principle approval in 2014 and the State government took up land acquisition and provided other facilities, said Mr. Mahadevappa.
‘’The BJP has only carried forward the work started by the Congress which also deserves credit. Mr. Siddaramaiah as the then CM and myself as Public Works Minister transferred the road to NHAI which was approved by the then Union Minister for Surface Transport Oscar Fernandes. This highway is our dream project,” claimed Mr. Mahadevappa.
Dubbing the expressway as a ‘’killer” road, Mr.Lakshman claimed that at least 300 accidents have taken place in the last six months and there were dozens of deaths and attributed it to ‘’unscientific planning and alignment’’ of the road. There is uneven surface at many places and posed a threat to fast moving vehicles, said Mr.Mahadevappa.
The Congress leaders inspected a stretch of the expressway near Mysuru and said that the service roads are incomplete and in many places there are no underpasses for long stretches of nearly 8 km and has made life difficult for local villagers to cross to the other side. There are farmers who have land on the other side of the highway and they have to traverse 15 km, said Mr. Lakshman.
The Congress was also critical of the toll structure and said that it was too steep and should be rolled back. Mr. Mahadevappa questioned the credentials of Mysuru MP Pratap Simha for announcing the toll structure sometime ago and said this is the job of the National Highways Authority of India.