Mysuru: The controversial stretch between Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa Circle (Metropole Circle) and Valmiki Junction comprising Jaladarshini Guest House will get new inter-locking footpaths and works have begun on a war-footing. Footpaths and other works are being taken up following the directions of Kodagu-Mysuru MP Pratap Simha.
Footpath laying works have begun yesterday and the Department of National Highways will complete the laying of footpath from the Metropole Circle till Paduvarahalli 4th Main within a month. This morning, traffic on the road was closed on one side and vehicles had to proceed on the other side. This had led to minor traffic snarls.
To lay the footpath, a part of the compound wall on the right side (as one comes from Metropole Circle) near the Jaladarshini Guest House has been demolished and footpath will be laid. Six more trees have to be cut and the National Highways authorities have written to the Forest Department for permission.
It may be recalled here that on June 21, Pratap Simha had visited the stretch to examine the works and had taken umbrage on the way the road has been widened, deviating from the original plan. Directing the officials to stick to the original plan, the MP alleged that shoddy works have been undertaken.
The Union government had sanctioned Rs. 12.5 crore for widening and straightening of the ever-busy Hunsur Road from Jaladarshini Guest House till the Valmiki Road Junction (850-metre stretch) to prevent accidents and loss of lives. The MP pointed out that there were no footpaths on the road.
Speaking to Star of Mysore this morning, H.P. Chandrappa, Assistant Executive Engineer, National Highways said that the Centre, under its Central Road Fund had released Rs. 12.5 crore for the project on 2.11.2016 and the original project was to convert the stretch between Jaladarshini Guest House and Valmiki Road Junction to a six-lane road with widening and straightening up to 6.5 metres and 4 metres respectively. Out of the funds, Rs. 2 crore was earmarked to shift water and power lines, he said.
The foundation stone for the project was laid on 21.11.2017 by MP Pratap Simha and the then Chamaraja MLA Vasu and the then PWD Minister Dr. H.C. Mahadevappa. “The project necessitated felling of 79 trees on both sides and the compound wall of Kukkarahalli Lake had to be demolished. Green activists including the Mysore Grahakara Parishat filed a case in a Mysuru Court and the Court directed that there should be a public hearing if more than 50 trees are cut,” Chandrappa said.
The project was dropped as it cut many trees and on 21-12-2017, Executive Engineer of National Highways Lakshman Rao Peshwe directed the local authorities to asphalt the road till Hinkal Junction (5.45 kilometres) and also widen the stretch between Jaladarshini Guest House and Valmiki Road Junction and lay footpaths till Paduvarahalli (1.5 kilometres from Metropole Circle).
“This deviation in plan was not communicated to MP Pratap Simha. As we already have permission to lay footpaths, we will complete the project within a month. We have demolished a part of the Jaladarshini Guest House compound and this will give enough space for further widening and straightening the road and lay footpaths,” he said. He denied that there has been any misappropriation of money in the project. “We will first start work near Jaladarshini and begin work on the other side later. We will widen the road by 2 metres on the Jaladarshini side, and a 3-metre wide pavement will be built using interlocking stones. The curve will be straightened. The other side of the road will also be straightened by 6 metres and the median will be shifted,” he added.
Chandrappa said that till now, Rs. 7.5 crore has been spent and the remaining Rs. 5 crore will be utilised for fresh works that are being undertaken now.