Pics: Umesh Marpalli / Ivan Mascarenhas / Suvarna Brahmavar
Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi
Udupi, May 21: Traffic problems are nothing new, but these days, Udupi and surrounding places have been witnessing a surge in traffic chaos with an exponential rise in the number of cars on roads. As per an RTO survey report, there are more than 30,000 new vehicles in 2015, as compared to 2014.
It is three years since the traffic chaos started near Brahmavar bus stand and Akashvani. The people have waited patiently with the hope that the situation would improve, but with people's representatives and road contractors not responding to their problems, people are losing patience.
The problem that started with the four-lane work on national highway has become complex as the days passed by and there are no signs of a solution. Thousands of travelers face hardships. Rickshaw associations have made several appeals and Heddari Ulisi committee has held protests, but the indifference by the authorities has continued.
A lot of work has been done on NH 66 but the main work at major junctions like Mulky, Padubridi, Kinnimulki, Ambalpadi, Karavali, Santhekatte, Brahmavar, Akashavani – Barkur turn, Koteshwar, Kundapur etc has been delayed.
The hardship faced by people travelling from Brahmavar bus stand to Barkur cannot be explained enough. As heavy vehicles ply from Mangaluru and Udupi to Bangaluru via this route, the problem has become acute. Added to it are the tankers plying to Shivamogga.
Locals say that the tower near Akashvani is the cause of many problems. A vehicle has to change lanes a minimum of 100 times while plying from Surathkal to Kundapur. The work in Brahmavar has no clear vision.
61 road accident deaths in four months
According to Udupi crime department's report, as many as 61 death cases have been reported in the district in just four months (from January- April 2015). Around 273 cases have been registered in the district with regard to road accidents. Nearly 130 people have suffered minor or major injuries.
No control over speed
Many drivers of express buses have no control over their driving. That’s why road accidents happen every day. At times, competition between two vehicles leads to accidents. Tailgating, poor lane discipline, failure to indicate, and overtaking irresponsibly are just a few of the bad habits that are common and very annoying. Aside from the inconvenience to other road users, this kind of rash driving is very dangerous too.
Regulation of fines
The traffic rules are quite flexible in Udupi city and the departments concerned need to be strict against violators by collecting fines. College students love to take jolly rides, putting all caution to the winds. Many of the bus drivers do not bother obeying signals, and drive their vehicles on congested paths.
Land acquisition for national highway
According to the NH authority, there is no land acquisition pending in Udupi city except on Padubidri highway. Due to the delay in the process, work on the drainage system is pending in some parts of Udupi.
Poor and unscientific method of construction of roads
Construction work is very poor at Karavali-Ambalpady-Santhekatte junction. The concrete work has been partially washed away by the first rain of this year. The contractor’s report to higher authorities says that work is done, but on the other side, they are preparing to fill the pot holes. Patch work is being done at Heroor.
Especially on Sunday mornings, drivers and bike riders struggle to retrieve their vehicles from the parking spot at Santhekatte. The market is very close to the national highway. The small time traders pitch their businesses on the roadside. During the rainy season, the place is usually a mess with vegetable pieces, plastics, and other garbage lying around.
Condition of Bus Stops
During the time of land acquisition for road construction, the Santhekatte bus stand was demolished and later rebuilt. Karavali and Ambalpady bus stand are virtually useless because they have become a place for beggars, homeless people, and is always unclean. So, the public keep away from the bus stand. On the route from Kundapur to Udupi, some bus stands have been made of palm leaves and these get decomposed during the rainy season.
Unwanted banners and hoardings
There are no signals seen at the diversions, especially at corners and junctions. Regulating traffic movement by installing signals, traffic islands, road markings, and regulatory signs such as ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs is necessary.
Some of the things that can be particularly irritating about other drivers and their habits, like not switching on headlights when they are required to, using high beam headlights, or dipping only at the last minute, use of vacuum horns as well as impatient people pushing in ahead of a traffic queue, all add to traffic woes.
Lastly, public need to realize their responsibility and follow traffic rules. It is wrong to solely blame the traffic police for these problems and it is important that the public do their bit to help improve the situation.