OTHERS

Mysore-Bantwal road plan under study

KUSHALNAGAR July 3. The Public Works Minister, Dharam Singh, announced on Wednesday a proposal to take up construction of the 220-km. Mysore-Bantwal State highway at a cost of Rs. 320 crore on a build-<149>operate and transfer (BOT) basis.

The scheme was being considered by the State Government as part of its programme to upgrade State highways and national highways in the State.

Mr. Singh was inaugurating the new bridge across the Cauvery at 88.30th km. on Mysore-Bantwal Road at Koppa in Kushalnagar. The bridge, built by the Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limi<149>te<149>d (KRDCL), was completed at a cost of Rs. 263.40 lakh and completed in a record one year by Larsen and Toubro Limi<149>te<149>d.

On completion, the road passing through Madikeri would aid the economic progress of Mysore, Kodagu, and Dakshina Kannada districts. The proposal was before the Cabinet seeking its <149>approval. The Government was thinking on <149>whether to pay to the contractor on a "bullet" or "deferred" basis. A task force had been constituted in this regard.

About the State highways, Mr. Singh said the Government had started a new concept of "resurfacing" the roads. There were 10,800 km. stretch <149>of State highways, of which resurfacing had been done to the extent of 7,600 km. This was a separate programme, other than the usual repairs and maintenance of the <149>roads by the PWD, he said.

The minister said the Congress Government in the State had taken significant steps to complete 135 bridges (of the total 148) in record 10 months. Most of the bridges were in poor state. Admitting that the PWD had not earned a good name with regard to its functioning, Mr. Singh called upon everyone in the department to rise to the occasion to meet the challenges before people lost their faith in the department.

As per the new system, a contractor who repaired the roads would be in-<149>charge of its maintenance for three years. He would be held responsible for any lapse. The Government had spent Rs. 363 crore from the NABARD funds to develop rural roads and bridges since <149>1996 to 1999. As for Kodagu, Rs.4 crore was released for repairs and maintenance last year. Besides, huge amount from the NABARD was spent in the district to complete a number of roads and bridges, he said.

Mr. Singh proceeded to Balamuri to open the Balamuri bridge (started during the tenure of S.Bangarappa) and later to open another bridge on Siddapur-Mysore road.

The Kodagu district in-charge Minister, M.M.Nanaiah, who thanked Mr. Singh for heeding to <149>his request to consider construction of new bridges at Kushalnagar, Hattihole, Madapur, and Siddapur in the district, appealed to the minister to release more funds for road and bridge projects in Kodagu. He said he would submit a list of the projects to him later.

The Somwarpet MLA, Appachu Ranjan, who presided over the function, admitted that roads in most parts of the State had been developed well in the recent times. If the projects were completed in time it would prevent the escalation in <149>cost.

He appealed to Mr. Singh to release more funds to develop good road links in Kodagu, especially to promote tourism in the district. The president of the Kodagu Zilla Panchayat, H.B.Jayamma, spoke.

A member of the zilla panchayat, representing Kushalnagar, V.P.Shashidhar, who urged Mr. Singh to consider a special package to develop roads in Kodagu, requested him to facilitate the renovation of the Kushalnagar market yard for which a proposal involving Rs. 75 lakh had been submitted to the Government.

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