Rough and tumble of the Charmadi Ghat ride

Heavy traffic and rain not only cause potholes on Charmadi Ghat, but also leave little time for repairs. DH Photo/Janardhan B.K.

Sumangala and Harish dread the prospect of travelling on Charmadi Ghat as buses do not stop even when they request, to answer nature’s call. The couple has expressed anguish in a mail to a private bus service provider.

Sadananda Chatra, secretary of a Mangaluru-based private bus owners association, said drivers had greater things to worry about. “The Charmadi route buses always bring complaints of drivers not stopping the vehicle and the ride being very rough. But people don’t know that if a bus stops during night journey, it will create a kilometre-long gridlock,” he said.

Landslides have not threatened the road through Charmadi as is the case with Shiradi and Sampaje Ghats. Still, it is in a shambles with potholes deeper than a foot threatening the safety of commuters. The narrow road, though, remains the best option for commuters between Mangaluru and Bengaluru. 

“The real carriageway on the ghat section is less than 30 feet wide. If a bus is coming from the opposite direction, we are in trouble. People still want to book my cab, but I have decided not to take chances. The hairpin bends are too dangerous,” said Ganesh Kukkaje, who works with a travel agency.

The high traffic on Charmadi Ghat during monsoon is not new for Abhilash and his friends in Kottigehara. However, the unprecedented traffic snarls and spike in accidents have surprised them.

“Traffic is usually high in monsoon as officials close the Shiradi Ghat during the season. But the gridlocks and accidents we have seen over the last month shows there is more congestion. Last month, nearly 500 vehicles got stuck on the Ghat from midnight to 4 pm as landslides blocked both sides,” said Abhilash.

A senior PWD official from Mangaluru division said the road was carrying traffic beyond capacity, thus causing potholes.

“There is no opportunity repair work as the closure of Shiradi Ghat for more than six months has added to the road carriage. Rains worsened the situation,” he said.

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Rough and tumble of the Charmadi Ghat ride

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