Repair of State highways only after rains stop

Repair of State highways only after rains stop

PWD postpones works to November

Repair of State highways only after rains stop

In the wake of heavy rainfall across the State, the Public Works Department (PWD) has decided to postpone till November the repair of damaged State highways. Till then, road users will have to put up with back-breaking bumpy rides.

A sum of Rs 500 crore has been released by the State government for various repair works like pothole filling, shoulder drain repair and clearance, vegetation cleaning and other works on the State highways and major district roads. But heavy rainfall in several districts has forced the PWD to postpone the repair works. According to an estimate, over 15 per cent of the State highways has been badly damaged.

Though the government has released Rs 500 crore under the annual road maintenance, it has not set aside any special fund to repair roads ravaged due to floods.

The roads in North Karnataka and Malnad regions are the worst affected by the rains which have wreaked havoc. The State highways are in tatters in Gulbarga, Bidar, Raichur, Gadag, Karwar, Shimoga, Chikmagalur and Kodagu districts. Minor repair works under annual maintenance will not suffice the measures required to repair the road damages, informed PWD and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) officials, on conditions of anonymity.

Asphalt washed away
KSRTC officials say that the rains have washed away the asphalt on several State Highways in the above-mentioned districts. The potholes on these stretches are gradually expanding into craters, making it tough for the vehicles to move smoothly.
In fact the PWD does not use water-resistant bitumen to fill up potholes during the rainy season as it is very expensive. “Water-resistant bitumen is very expensive when compared to the regular one. Hence, it is not used. We have to wait till the rainfalls subside for taking up repair works,” said A N Thyagaraj, PWD Chief Engineer (South). 

Of the total Rs 500 crore released by the government, Rs 220 crore has been earmarked for the PWD south division and the remaining for the PWD north division.
“Recent floods in the 10 districts of North Karnataka region have extensively damaged the State Highways. PWD north division has estimated the damages caused to roads due to floods at Rs 197 crore. The government is yet to release money for this purpose, said O K Swamy, PWD Chief Engineer (North Division).
The State government, under the calamity relief fund, has sought financial assistance from the Centre, to take up repair and rehabilitation works in the affected places.

PWD Secretary T N Chikkarayappa said that the amount had already been released and the officials at the divisional levels will identify the damaged roads and take up repair works. Work on re-construction of roads damaged due to floods will be taken up separately, he added.