Maintenance of highways will burden local bodies: Bhat

Former MLA and BJP leader K Raghupathi Bhat said the state government's decision to recommend the central government to denotify the national highways under the local bodies as local bodies' road to save bars is a welcome decision, but it should provide grants to develop the denotified highways.

Addressing a press conference here, he said the government’s decision taken on June 7 will indeed help around 6,000 bards following the Supreme Court order. But the cost of maintenance of the highways will be a burden for the local bodies as they are being run with minimum funds now.

Bhat said the local body maintains the national and state highways in Mumbai. But the Mumbai municipality is one of the largest resource mobilising local bodies in the country. The development of the roads and maintenance of the national and state highways will be two major aspects which will be massively affected due to the poor financial resources of the local bodies, he said.

He said the national highway work in Udupi will be affected as the Ambagilu flyover and the Karavali bypass junction.

He said the stretch connecting Malpe to Theerthahalli has already been declared as the national highway. This road work will remain incomplete as the central government will not release funds once the highways are denotified. The sudden decision of the state government will affect the local bodies. The Malpe-Adi Udupi national highway work has been taken up at a cost of Rs 90 crore. All these works will be stopped if the central government accepts the state government’s proposal, he observed

Bhat said District In-charge Minister Pramod Madhwaraj should be take up the issue with the chief minister and brief him over the consequences. The government has utterly failed to take local bodies into confidence before taking such a major decision. It has also failed to solve the sand mining issue in the district. Poor labourers are starving due to unemployment, he claimed.

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