Delay in road widening hits tourism in Belur

Traffic congestion on the main road in Belur, Hassan district. Deputy Commissioner R Girish's car can be seen stuck in the traffic, recently.

Chennakeshava temple in Belur attracts a large number of tourists from across the country and the world, for its architectural wonders. But, the main road, connecting the temple, is narrow and traffic congestion has become a serious issue, especially during weekends and vacations. The long-pending demand of the residents to widen the road, connecting the temple, has fallen on deaf ears.

The main road passes through national highway 234, that connects Mangaluru and Villupuram. The locals have been demanding the widening of the road from JP Nagar in the town, up to Halebid road.

As the existing road is narrow, it has become difficult for vehicle users and the people, as the density of the vehicles is increasing. Haphazard parking is another problem. Even though, the police have provided space to park vehicles by the roadside, vehicles are parked unscientifically, leading to traffic chaos and also mishaps.

Notice to owners

As directed by the late MLA Y N Rudreshgowda, a survey was conducted for road widening. Based on the documents, 296 buildings were identified from JP Nagar to Nehru Nagar. Buildings were marked for demolition, for widening of the road by 50 ft. Notices were served to the building owners. But, the owners of 116 buildings brought a stay order from the High Court. After that, the district administration has not taken any step for road widening, it is alleged.

National Highway Authority of India engineers told DH, clearing the buildings and land acquisition are the responsibility of the district administration and the Revenue department. If they clear the buildings, we will begin the work and develop the main road.

The same road is used for protests, roadblock, procession or temple utsavas. The public are inconvenienced at these times and the vehicles are stranded for hours together. The residents urge the authorities for an alternative route to connect the temple from the highway. Belur MLA K S Lingesh submitted a proposal to the government and Rs 15 crore is released. But, the project is yet to be taken up. Similarly, the construction of an Outer Ring Road in Belur too is pending.

National Highway Authority of India Assistant Executive Engineer Sathayanarayan said, "There is no proposal before the authority on widening of the main road in Belur. The main road has been asphalted. The road widening would be reviewed during the new budget in March."

Building Owners Association president Umashankar said, "The building owners are not against the widening of the main road in Belur town. We have brought a stay from the court. Let them provide suitable compensation for the buildings, as they are our main source of income."

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