Kodagu roads: A study in contrast
RICH VERSUS THE POOR IN KODAGU: This reporter was recently in Kodagu. He was both shocked and surprised by the condition of the roads in the district. It was a study in contrast. While the road used by a bunch of wealthy planters was freshly tarred, the road used by a large number of ordinary folks, had not seen tar for ages.
First,the good news. The road going towards the ‘Polaycad Estate Bungalow’ near the town of Ammathi, was freshly tarred. The road is reportedly used only by a few planters and the guests going to a reputed high-end homestay in the area.
Possibly the worst stretch of road in the district is the one near Kadnur Bridge, on Madikeri-Virajpet Road on the state highway. The road has almost disappeared. There is only a slush track. The stretch is a nightmare for motorists. Though the Madikeri-Virajpet Road is the most important road in the district, the authorities have failed to carry out temporary repairs, till regular repairs could be taken up after the monsoon.
It is learnt that the authorities are concentrating more on rural roads, like the Polaycad Road, in the villages because there is “more money” to be made by the politicians by resorting to sub-standard work. Moreover, such roads could help in mobilising votes from the villagers.
However, the ‘mother of all bad roads’ is the one between Hunsur and Gonikoppal. This portal had launched an online signature campaign, urging the Kodagu MLAs – Speaker K.G. Bopaiah and sports minister Appachu Ranjan, to take up repair and upgradation of the road. They have assured that the work on this road will start in November, 2012.
EDITOR’S VIEW: If one goes by the condition of the Kodagu roads, it becomes apparent that the MLAs from the district have failed in discharging their duties. They seem to be wasting their time in inconsequential felicitations and other trivial functions, if one went by the coverage in the local media. The MLAs should treat the roads as priority No. 1.
The MLAs also behaved irresponsibly by calling a ‘Kodagu bandh’ against the ‘World Heritage’ tag given to parts of the Western Ghats by the UNESCO. They misled the people that the World Heritage tag will affect the local planters. This is in sharp contrast to the opinion expressed by M.C. Nanaiah, MLC, who has maintained that the report submitted by Madhav Gadgil has categorically stated that the heritage tag will not affect the local people.
While rejecting the World Heritage tag, the Speaker Bopaiah was quoted as saying in the media that he was in favour of a separate Kodagu state. The Speaker should explain how he will manage a separate Kodagu state when he cannot even look after the upkeep of the roads in the district.