While the Rs 4 crore work to widen and remove bottlenecks along a 1.2 km stretch of the NH66 highway between Gulem and Karmalghat is likely to be delayed, the PWD (National Highways) on Thursday began temporarily widening the accident-prone curve and erecting a protection wall at Karmalghat.
PWD (NH) Assistant Engineer Sagar Shet informed media persons at the site that PWD started the work on Thursday itself and is expected complete it within 15 days.
Incidentally, Shet had initially offered to re-install the crash barriers which got destroyed by several vehicles crashing into them.
However, public present at the site insisted that the crash-barriers, if reinstalled with no proper support, will meet the same fate. They suggested the construction of a protection wall at a width of 1-mtr from the existing roadside.
Earlier, NGO ‘Goenkar’ President Jack Fernandes, who was present along with Canacona ex-MLA Vijay Pai Khot, informed the Rs 4 crore work to widen the road and remove bottlenecks along the 1.2 Km stretch of NH66 from Karmalghat to Gulem has no forest clearances and hence, the forest department on Wednesday had stopped the contractor from executing the works at Karmalghat.
Incidentally, Canacona MLA and Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar had stated last week that the work and finance had been approved by central government to the tune of Rs 4 crore and that, the contractor would begin the works from June 19.
“If funds have been approved from the Centre, and the approved tender is also allotted to a contractor, how can the forest department stop the legal works,” asked Fernandes.
“It then appears that authorities have not taken any permission nor has the forest clearance been obtained. So, if the permission/forest clearance is pending, how was the tender process completed without complying with all formalities? Does that mean the tendering process was done when formalities were incomplete so as to leave the works stranded for want for permissions?”
Added Vijay Poi Khot: “We had suggested a temporary solution to prevent vehicles from falling off the NH66 at Karmalghat. PWD will erect a laterite or concrete protection wall and they will also widen the roadside by at least a metre.”
“People have rejected PWD’s suggestion to temporarily reinstate the broken and mutilated crash-barriers, they will fall apart the same way after being hit by any vehicle.
"We don’t want this problem to linger on. Canaconcars have a lot of patience, but if the situation continues to remain unaddressed, they will come on the road and make this road safe for motorists.”
Shri Mallikarjun Devalaya Committee President Vithoba Dessai, CMC former dy chairperson Dilip Kenkre, Shankar Naik, Ajit Poinguinkar and Vishant Prabhugaonkar were also present at the site.