Karnataka’s Public Works Minister, Satish Jarkiholi, recently addressed the Legislative Council to shed light on the delay in completing the Belagavi-Goa National Highway.
Jarkiholi explained that the forest department’s regulations often pose challenges to executing development projects in Khanapur taluk, an area nestled within dense forests. Despite the government’s efforts to promote overall development in the taluk, the forest department’s rules have become significant obstacles, particularly when it comes to road construction in the reserve forest area.
Khanapur taluka, the most neglected and underdeveloped region in Belagavi district, suffers from poorly maintained roads. Even after 76 years of independence, some villages in the jungle region still lack proper road infrastructure.
Both the state and Belagavi Panaji national highways, which pass through the taluk, are in dire condition. These highways, intended to facilitate smooth transportation, have become life-threatening for commuters due to their deteriorated state. Potholes and damaged sections are visible along the roads, causing inconvenience and suffering for motorists, elderly individuals, pregnant women, and disabled individuals. Some villages in the area remain completely cut off from the outside world due to the absence of passable roads. The Belagavi to Goa road and Khanapur to Nandgad road are particularly affected by extensive damage.
During a question and answer session in the Legislative Council, a Member of the Legislative Council, Dr. Talwar Sabanna, raised concerns about this issue to the Minister of Public Works.
In response to this inquiry, Minister of Public Works, Satish Jarkiholi, announced that the contract for the construction of the National Highway from Belagavi to Goa has been successfully awarded. However, the project has encountered certain challenges due to several sections of the highway falling within the jurisdiction of the reserved forest department. Consequently, the regulations imposed by the forest department have posed obstacles in carrying out the necessary road work.
Despite these hurdles, the Public Works Department has diligently compiled a comprehensive list of essential tasks required to maintain the highway’s optimal condition. The estimated cost for these works amounts to Rs. 58.641 crore, which has been duly submitted to the National Highways Authority’s headquarters for approval.