Karnataka

Demand for widening bypass road gets louder

A file photo of workers removing parts of the mini bus that was involved in an accident on Hubballi Dharwad Bypass killing 11 persons. Vehicles lined up along the road show the extent of congestion on the narrow two-lane road which connects six-lane national highway at both ends.  

While five of the survivors of the ghastly accident on the Hubballi-Dharwad Bypass Road continue to battle for life in various hospitals in Hubballi and Bengaluru, the voice for widening the bypass road is getting louder day by day with various organisations petitioning the government in this regard.

As per the data available, the 30-kilometre bypass road between Narendra Cross in Dharwad and Gabbur Cross in Hubballi has witnessed 422 accidents (major and minor) resulting in the death of 164 persons in the past one decade. These accidents also have left 645 persons injured. In 2020, the bypass road witnessed 33 road accidents killing 16 persons and injuring 55. And, in the first month of the year, 11 persons have lost their lives and five are battling for life in hospitals.

The demand for widening the bypass road is not a new phenomenon. It has been raised by different organisations and individuals, including Ministers, on different occasions in the last few years, but to no avail.

In fact, Union Minister Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari is aware of the issue and has even held several rounds of discussion with the former MLA and Director of Nandi Highway Developers Limited Ashok Kheny on the issue of road widening. But there seems to be a technical issue, which continues to remain unresolved leaving the people to suffer. In fact, on the day of the accident, the issue was raised by both Union Minister Pralhad Joshi and Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar during the bhoomi puja of two national highway projects in Hubballi, in which Mr. Gadkari and Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa participated through a video link.

Already, various Congress leaders have demanded that the Chief Minister and also the Union Minister to take up road widening, as the road is part of National Highway (No 4). A protest is planned on Monday to highlight the problems. While Congress leader and KPCC media analyst is taking out a padayatra, urban and rural district unit presidents of the party are staging protests seeking road widening and other safety measures to prevent further loss of lives on the narrow bypass road stretch which is connected to six-lane roads at both ends.

Hubballi Dharwad Goods Transporters and Lorry Owners Association too has appealed to Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi, through a memorandum, to take corrective measures to prevent further loss of lives at the earliest. In between, an online petition (http://chng.it/zd2STtK4) started by Prashant Mastiholi has started receiving widespread support with more signing it.

The online petition to Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar, Department of Public Works, Karnataka, National Highway Authority of India and Chief Minister of Karnataka was started 11 months ago when a series of accidents were reported on the two-lane bypass road, which has become a sort of bottleneck. After Friday’s accident, scores of netizens began signing the petition and by Sunday evening, the number of people who had signed the petition was nearing 19,000.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 6:09:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/demand-for-widening-bypass-road-gets-louder/article33594959.ece

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