Regular commuters want a faster but safer commute between Mysuru and Bengaluru

Updated - September 02, 2022 11:38 am IST

Published - September 01, 2022 10:08 pm IST - Mysuru

A file photo of a bus partially submerged at a flooded underpass on the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway.

A file photo of a bus partially submerged at a flooded underpass on the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway. | Photo Credit: PTI

On August 3, Mahesh, a young graduate, boarded a KSRTC bus from Mysuru to Bengaluru to attend an interview in the afternoon. But, with stretches of Mysuru–Bengaluru highway inundated, the bus was forced to take a detour and it reached Bengaluru only after a six-hour-long journey through narrow rural roads of Mandya and Ramanagaram districts.

When techie Faisal Nisar set out for Bengaluru from Mysuru on August 27 for a weekend get-together with his friends, he was prompted on Google Maps to take a deviation at Srirangapatna and reach his destination via Nagamangala, Bellur Cross, Kunigal, and Nelamangala.

Days of flooding

For several days during August, stretches of the under-construction Mysuru–Bengaluru highway were flooded in parts of Mandya and Ramanagaram districts after a downpour lashed the region, forcing many commuters in private vehicles, taxis, and State-owned KSRTC buses to take alternative routes between the two cities.

Instead of taking a detour after reaching the flooded stretch and enduring an agonising and prolonged journey through the rural roads, many commuters preferred to take an alternative route soon after starting from Mysuru via either Bellur Cross or the Malavalli-Kanakapura road to reach Bengaluru. KSRTC officials too said buses towards Bengaluru plied on the Malavalli–Kanakapura road on days when the regular highway was flooded.

While a few travellers said they enjoyed the refreshing experience of the alternative route, others said the alternative roads were narrow and the diversion led to congestion.

Other transport options

Though sources in Mysuru division of Railways said there was a small increase in the footfall at Mysuru City Railway Station from where more than 20 trains ply to Bengaluru daily, Mysuru Airport Director R. Manjunath said daily flight operations from Mysuru to Bengaluru, which leaves at 4.55 p.m. on all days except Tuesday when it leaves at 2.55 p.m., saw a rise in passenger traffic by 10 to 15% with the increase in booking showing up mostly at the eleventh hour.

The traffic disruption on the highway last weekend too disappointed the tourism industry in Mysuru, which was looking forward to an increased inflow of tourists in view of the Gowri-Ganesha chaturthi holidays. “We were expecting an increase in the occupancy of hotel rooms during the holidays. Due to the flooding on the highway, many tourists did not come to Mysuru and our rooms remained vacant,” said Narayan Gowda, Mysuru Hotel Owners’ Association president.

The industry in Mysuru was also hit by the flooding on the stretches of the highway. “A large number of goods vehicles carrying raw materials and finished goods ply on the highway regularly. The disruption in traffic movement on the highway not only affected production and supply cycles but also led to an increased transportation cost for the operators, who were forced to take the longer alternative routes,” lamented Suresh Kumar Jain, Mysore Industries Association general secretary.

Rain fury in Ramanagara
Life was thrown out of gear in Ramanagara after heavy rains lashed the district on Monday morning, submerging roads, houses and leaving people stranded without transportation | Video Credit: Sudhakara Jain

Engineering flaws

Mr. Jain complained of lapses in the design and monitoring of work for the inundation of the crucial highway. Several others, including Opposition leaders, too have picked holes in the design of the highway. There has been a demand for realigning the highway, given the recent instances of flooding and the engineering lacunae it has exposed. Responding to the complaints, MP for Mysuru Pratap Simha took to social media and denied that the inundation was due to “poor quality” of work.

The Mysuru-Bengaluru highway, which has been taken up for widening, is not only one of the busiest highways in Karnataka but also a crucial link ensuring road connectivity to thousands of people commuting between the two cities. The residents of Mysuru as well as its tourism, IT, and manufacturing industries are all looking forward to a faster commute between the two cities on the widened highway, which promises to reduce the travel time to less than 90 minutes. But crucially, it is safe and reliable, say regular commuters, who are alarmed by the flooding the stretch has experienced over the last month.

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