Mangalore: Unending Traffic Woes at Nanthoor Junction
Pics: Brijesh Garodi
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore
Mangalore, May 30: It looks as though the lethargic attitude of Mangaloreans to its never ending problems of roads and the mindset of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) officials, the District Administration and the City Corporation are perfectly made for each other. Nanthoor junction which exemplifies traffic chaos at its zenith is just one simple example of this kind of attitude. While the public is guilty of allowing the problem to persist for eons, the remaining three are equally responsible for the anarchy to continue for years together with their “I don’t care a fig kind of stance”.
This important junction, which is an intersection for the three major highways of Mangalore – NH 17, NH 48 and NH 13, is in total disarray causing hardship, inconvenience and total chaos to the motorists and general public. Accidents are common, and in fact, a lady fell off her two-wheeler right in the middle of the road on Wednesday May 30, amidst busy traffic. She is one of the many many people, especially those on two-wheelers, who find it difficult to negotiate this stretch of the road.
Though the Nanthoor Junction problem is a long standing one with IRKON going on with its project at snail’s pace (or still slower) the new circle done a few months ago on this junction has further complicated the matter. Finding solution to this chaos in its present condition looks unthinkable and impossible.
This junction assumes significance mainly because all the three Highways passing through Mangalore hit Nanthoor junction. Apart from traffic emanating from the Highways there is also the traffic that comes from the city making it a four-way-traffic junction. Vehicles come from Pumpwell, Kulshekar-Kaikamba, Nanthoor polytechnic and from Hampankatta-Kankanady through Shivbagh intersect through this junction. There is an incomplete triangle at the junction from the road approaching from Pumpwell, which is causing inconvenience and confusion to the drivers especially newcomers. Earlier, traffic from Pumpwell used to go straight on this road on NH 17. Recently IRKON has done a circle (incomplete) at the mouth of the junction and traffic from Pumpwell is directed through the circle. Just a few steps ahead there is a triangle which is in total mess. This triangle bifurcate the road coming from Shivbagh and the road coming the Junction from Nanthoor-Polytechnic towards the junction. IRCON which is by known for its incompetence and inferior quality of work has left the space in between these two roads undone causing uneven space and creating confusion.
Confusion - Who to blame?
Before this circle was created traffic from Nanthoor Politechnic used to join the state road going towards Shivabagh at this triangle and there was not much confusion. Now, the problem has been vitiated because after the formation of the circle traffic movement has not been changed in commensurate with the formation of the circle. As a result, traffic from Shivbagh passes through without going around the circle. Similarly in the absence of a median which IRCON has failed to provide, traffic from Nanthoor polytechnic also doesn’t pass through the junction but takes a diversion at the uneven triangle side, which is also quite risky. Because traffic from Pumpwell now diverted to the new circle intersects with traffic from Nanthoor Politechnic at an unsafe place. Unsafe because the gap has narrowed between the road from Shivbagh heading to Nanthoor Politechnic and Pumpwell on one side and from that of Nanthoor Politechnic from the opposite direction. “The problem would have been solved if IRKON had extended its median work from Nanthoor Politechnic up to the circle, but now they have left the corners open and this has caused problems to motorists, the public and also the traffic police” says PSI Traffic Gopalakrishna Bhat.
It looks as though lack of coordination between NHAI on one hand and City Corporation and MESCOM on the other is the root cause for this state of affairs. One may even ask whether these people know the true meaning of co-ordination or how to work in tandem with different departments. Otherwise, the problem would not have prolonged for so long. ACP Traffic G V Subrahmanyam says that the problem Nanthoor Junction will be acute during rainy season as the road from Padavu is slanted causing water logging at the beginning of the road leading to Kulshekar Kaikamba. Moreover since it is a highway signal light at the junction is not permitted. Come rain and in addition to the present problem there will be more disorder.
M Dharmaraj, one of the principal consultants with Mangalore City Corporation opines that Nanthoor Junction needs a 3-level grade separator intersection to enable smooth flow of traffic on this busy junction. There has to be service roads and underpass to provide connectivity to the proposed transport hub.
Looking at this problem we can say it is the collective failure of NHAI, the district administration, the Corporators and the ruling party at the Mangalore City Corporation. NHAI, which is mainly responsible for the present logjam acts as if it is not prone to criticism. When contacted Project Director P N Gawasane pointed out that IRKON is still working on this road and hence the disarray and there is still some problem with regard to shifting of BSNL cables. But Gawasane would do well to know that the pace at which IRKON is working using only 1 or 2 workers instead of employing 50 to 100 at a time, the work will never see the end of the day.
That the NHAI & City Corporation and District administration is at loggerheads is known from the fact that there are hurdles on the proposed Nanthoor Pumpwell Integrated Transport Hub. Sources say that City Corporation had given a proposal to NHAI for a 3 level grade separator intersection quite some time back, even before the finalization of the highway plan. NHAI had even promised to intimate to MCC before finalizing its highway plan. Reliable sources say that when MCC wanted only for 45 meters of right of way (row) for providing service roads on both sides and grade separator intersection NHAI insisted on 60 meters of right of way. Both the district administration and state government have failed miserably in this task and one fine day we may get to read that the proposed project is shelved.
The general public is as much to be blamed for this present impasse at Nanthoor Junction. In a similar situation people in Kerala or in some other states would have taken to streets and would not rested until the problem was set right. Let us hope our MP’s from Mangalore and Udupi, central minister Veerappa Moily and even the state Chief Minister take up the issue on priority basis galvanizing public support and in public interest. It is time we Mangaloreans shed our lethargy, indifference and give up our nebbish approach to issues of public safety and concern.