For nearly six months in a year, a locality with few houses at Halanduru in Sringeri becomes an island with no road connectivity to the rest of the world. Residents of the 20 families that live here have to cross a stream to reach the nearest habitation or walk a long distance. They have been facing this ordeal for decades with no government agencies offering any solution. They regularly face difficulty getting aged or sick people immediate healthcare.
Says Divakar, one of these residents, “Last year, my mother fell ill. It was difficult to take her to a hospital at Sringeri in a four-wheeler. We had to get the vehicle down and push it until it crossed the stretch.” Halandur is about 9 km from Sringeri taluk centre. Though there is a road to connect to Halandur village from Sringeri, there is no connectivity to a cluster of houses. In Malenadu, houses are scattered. One has to walk a long way to meet the nearest neighbour.
Venkataramu, also a resident of the locality, said, “People living elsewhere will not understand the gravity of the problem we have been facing. Outsiders might find it difficult to believe that we have had no road since the country got independence. We and our forefathers have been living in this condition since time immemorial.”.
The only way available for their movement is the path of a stream, which is full of water during the rainy season. Schoolchildren often face a tough time as they have to cross the flowing stream or take the alternative walk path to reach their destinations. “Only four-wheel drives can cross the stretch through the water. Otherwise we have to walk a couple of kms to reach the nearest alternative road to reach Sringeri. We have appealed to elected representatives and officers repeatedly. We have also offered to give a portion of our lands so that they could lay a road. But, our request has not reached them,” said Mr. Divakar. It is said that estimations were made twice to lay a separate road, but the work did not proceed further.
When The Hindu contacted Menase Gram Panchayat PDO Gopal Handa, he said there was a road to connect Halandur from Sringeri. “Recently we have taken up the improvement of other roads in the area. But, for this particular habitation, there is a problem. We cannot lay the road on the stretch where the stream flows,” he said. Further, he said a solution could be found if private people came forward to offer their land to lay a road.