A 30-year-old advocate, Govind Ramesh, was travelling on the Mysuru-Bengaluru expressway when he stopped his car on the service road near Mandya and stepped out to speak on the phone. It was around 10.45 p.m. A man approached asking him to come closer. Sensing danger, Govind Ramesh got into his car and drove away. As he left the spot, he realised that there were other men in the vicinity, and the man who spoke to him was coordinating with others over a phone in Hindi. He reported the incident to the police.
The expressway, already infamous for fatal accidents, is now attracting highway robbers. After the expressway was inaugurated in March 2023 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 11 robberies were recorded. While seven cases were reported in Mandya district, the rest were in Ramanagara district. At least two robberies have been reported in August 2023.
So far, eight cases have been solved, according to police in Mandya and Ramanagara. While these are official figures, it is possible that many instances of robberies may have gone unreported.
In most cases, culprits target bikers or motorists who stop by the roadside. In one instance, robbers chased a vehicle for 8 km. In another case, robbers targeted a couple who were taking a break in their car on the roadside.
Govind Ramesh claims that patrolling of the highway, especially at night when commuters are more vulnerable, is lax. “Authorities have to increase patrolling not just on the highway, but also on the service road. Otherwise, such highway robberies will only increase,” he said.
A senior police official said while highway patrolling is being increased, he advised commuters not to stop their vehicles anywhere on the expressway or service road, especially at night. “Commuters are advised to stop their vehicles only at petrol bunks on the service road or at restaurants, and not in between,” the officer said.