Barriers around lakes project hits another road block

Water bodies on Mysore-N'gud, Mysore-T N Pura roads have become prone to mishaps

Barriers around lakes project hits another road block

Yet another incident of vehicle falling into Dalwoy lake on Mysore- Nanjangud road (National Highway 212) was reported recently. But this time, the couple from Tamil Nadu had a providential escape. Still, the Union Ministry of Road Highways remains nonchalant to the pending proposal of erecting metal crash barriers around the water bodies on the highway.

Sources told Deccan Herald, it seems to be a non-starter at least till the work on converting the existing two lane Mysore- Nanjangud road to four lane is expected to start from December. The project planned at an estimated cost of Rs 455 crore, aims at converting 23 km long Mysore-Nanjangud road to four lane, widening of road from Mysore to Kerala border to further 10 metres and widening of Mysore-T Narsipura road from existing 5.5 metres to seven metres, all coming under NH-212.

The works on notifying the land for widening works has been already completed and the related processes too are nearing end. What has hindered taking up the works on installing crash barriers is the widening works of the highway. The officers are of the opinion that the works on crash barriers would be included along with the widening works, as separate proposals (widening and crash barriers) may invite objections at the time of auditing. Moreover, even if the crash barriers had been installed, it had to be removed again at the time of widening, leading to wastage of funds. It will be done so, in the case of Undabatti tank near Hosahalli gate on the same stretch, where metal crash barriers have been already installed.

Following the ghastly mishap in December 2010, where 32 people lost their lives after the maixcab they were travelling in fell into Undabatti tank, the Ministry took up the works on putting metal crash barriers to the tank on priority. The crash barrier was installed at an estimated cost of Rs 32.25 lakh in May 2011, while the plans to replicate the same at an estimated cost of Rs 1.03 crore at Dalwoy lake and Shetty lake (Mandakalli lake) on the same stretch and another for Varuna lake on Mysore- T Narsipura road remained on the papers.

The National Highway Authorities in Mysore made repeated attempts apprising the higher ups at Delhi about the necessity to take up the works at the other three lakes at the earliest, owing to growing traffic making it more vulnerable to mishaps.

Revised estimate

It appeared to be taking shape when the authorities at Delhi sought for a revised estimate for Rs 65 lakh citing lack of adequate funds. Accordingly, the length of barriers were modified (reduced) to an extent. Last year, in July and December, the proposals were forwarded again, but it failed to make any impact.

According to the observation made by the Highways office, Dalwoy lake has a road shoulder (muddy patch) from one to two metres against nothing of Shetty lake, where even a minute negligence on road may land vehicles straight into the water. While at Varuna lake, the road is narrow making it further dangerous as the vehicles move at great speed.

Deputy Commissioner Ramegowda who took note of pending proposals during telephonic conversation with the AEE of national highways Jadhav on Thursday, coaxed the latter to take up the work on priority. He also extended to help the officer in speeding up the works, by accompanying him to Delhi if the situation warrants.

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