Udayavni Special

The highway of darkness – NH 66


Team Udayavani, Oct 17, 2018, 6:33 PM IST

  • 1,860 street lights between Mangaluru-Kundapur
  • Only 60% of the lights function

Kaup: The Street lights on the divider at the towns coming along the national highway (NH) between Mangaluru- Kundapur play a prominent role in preventing accidents and crime. However, close to half of the street lights along this route are not functioning.

Although this sounds like a small issue, its adverse effects are grave. The reason behind the increase in the number of accidents occurring along NH 66 is mostly due to the non-functioning street lights.

There 1,860 lights installed on the divider from Nanthoor junction in Mangaluru to Parijat Circle in Kundapur. When the representatives of ‘Udayavani’ conducted a survey on the street lights along this route, it was ascertained that 40-50% of lights were not functioning. At some places, the lights switch off at 9 pm.

Junctions in Darkness

There are more than 30 junctions in between Nanthoor-Kundapur where the inner roads of rural areas meet. Along with the lack of light, the dividers too are inadequate which only confuses the riders and results in accidents.

What is the reason?

Lack of management is the reason for this game of light and dark. Sources from National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) inform that it is the responsibility of Navayuga Company to maintain the street lights along the highway from Talapady to Surathkal and Kundapur. The contractor maintains that its responsibility is from Talapady to Nanthoor and from Surathkal to Kundapur. The stretch between Nanthoor-Surathkal is the responsibility of the Department. Even then, not all the street lights between Surathkal and Kundapur are functional!

8 years, 2,500 deaths

According to the information from the police, as many as 2,500 people have lost their lives and 4,000 people have suffered injuries due to the accidents occurring between Talapady-Kundapur stretch, since the four-laning of the national highway here had begun in 2010.

Mini market: No lights, crime, accidents on the rise

There are 680 street lights between Nanthoor junction and Surathkal of which more that 60 % are dysfunctional. There 370 lights from Surathkal to Hejmady Toll gate of which close to 30% do not work. There are 520 lights from Hejmady toll gate to Sastan Toll gate and 300 lights between Sastan and Kundapur of which almost 50% are dysfunctional. Along these stretches, there are many mini markets which are overrun by darkness during the nights. Because of this crime and accidents are on the rise. There are daily reports on chain snatching, harassment, group attack, hit and run and many other cases.

“Due to the dysfunctional street lights, drivers and pedestrians are facing much trouble. It is a greater problem for two-wheeler riders,” says Mallikarjun, a rickshaw driver from Kolnadu.

“Accidents are occurring due to the lack of management. The contractors and officers say one thing during the meeting and do something else later,” says Kaup Divakara Shetty, leader of the campaign committee.

“It is our responsibility to install the street lights from Mukka to Kundapur and Nanthoor to Talapady. The management has been given to the Tollgate Management,” informs Shankar, Chief Project Manager, Navayuga Company Pvt. Ltd.

Article be Rakesh Kunjuru translated into English by Aaron Dmello

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