Bhatkal – The issue of widening the National Highway 66 (presently NH-17) has gained momentum since the verdict on its expansion was made public. The pulsating issue has caught on the frenzy of several debates and discussions in various associations representing the interests of the Bhatkalli community.
In 2011, the people of Bhatkal under the banner of Tanzeem organized a massive protest against its bypass and demanded the present highway be routed through the town, supporting the central government’s plan to make it a 4-lane road. After that, many proposals were suggested including flyover, But last week when the notification was issued in the newspapers, residents of Nawayat colony and Muglihonda gathered at Tanzeem office and lodged a strong protest against this and blamed Tanzeem for keeping them in dark regarding this project. They demanded highway to be bypassed and taken out of the residential area.
Keeping this in mind, ‘Bhatkallys.com’ visited different organizations in Bhatkal and tried to get their view on the issue.
Bhatkal Merchant Association:
Bhatkal Merchant Association has strongly favoured highway bypass and they are against Tanzeem’s decision from day one to allow highway to pass through the town.
Speaking to our correspondent, one of its representative said, ‘We will not allow the highway to pass through the residential area.’ Supporting their viewpoint, he said, ‘If it is not bypassed, around 800 shops will be closed and 140 families lose their houses. This will lead to unemployment and cause losses He said, “We have submitted our objections to the highway authority and we expect the decision will be taken in our favour when the highway authority meet in Mangalore on 22nd January 2013 to take final decision.”
Majlis Islah wa Tanzeem:
Majlis Islah wa Tanzeem, an organization representing Bhatkali people at all fronts is against highway bypass and it has already demonstrated its stand on this issue two years back by holding a massive rally against bypass.
Speaking to our correspondent, one of the representative of Tanzeem said, “Some people are blaming Tanzeem for keeping them in dark on this issue and making partiality, but let me clear one thing, we have not taken any decision single handed. We collectively took this decision after having series of meetings with all Markazi Jamats, representatives of Masjid committees and representatives of people residing near the highway.
Answering the query he said, ‘We took the decision against bypass after studying all the angles and considering all the parties. We are trying our best to minimize the losses in case of highway passing through the town. We are constantly in touch with the concerned authorities to reduce the width from 60 m to some acceptable limit.’
It may be interesting to note that, except Bhatkal the demand for bypass is not heard from anywhere between the full stretch of NH-66 starting from Kundapur to Goa border. If the highway is bypassed, additional 130 crore rupees are required compared to present plan and many farmers lose their agricultural land who had already lost their land earlier in Konkan Railway Project. Apart from this, large portion of forest land is also required for this purpose, for which it is very difficult to get permission from the forest department.
What people say?
People believe that, it is unfair to acquire 60 m land from one side. This way they will lose their homes in which they are living since 30 – 40 years. And it is not so easy to purchase new land due to high prices. They blame Tanzeem for keeping them in dark regarding the amount of land acquired for this purpose. Earlier they thought, 30 m will be acquired from both sides, but when the notification was sent out, people were surprised to know that, as much as 60 m land may go from any side of the road. They are demanding Tanzeem to take strong action on this issue and pressurize the concerned authorities to reduce the width limit.
BMJ Eastern Province does not support the expansion of the National Highway
BMJ Eastern Province has urged Majlise Islah O Tanzeem Tanzeem to reconsider its stand on widening of NH 66. The issue was discussed during the executive meeting held on Januray 16 2013. Citing all the difficulties that the general public will encounter in case the existing National Highway was expanded, the Jamaat has sent its recommendations to Tanzeem, favoring bypass avoiding the populated zone.
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Last updated on 17 January, 2013.
Bhatkallys News Service / Rizwan Gangavali