BENGALURU: The Karnataka Road Transport corporation is seeing red over the announcement of the closure of Shiradi Ghat road for three-months starting January end or February first week.
Last year, the Shiradi Ghat was closed for more than six months starting January 2, 2015 for road repairs, as a result of which the corporation claims it incurred a loss of around 4.71 crore.
Public Works Department Minister H C Mahdevappa announced on Thursday that the stretch will be closed again owing to the the second phase of concretisation, which will be taken up shortly.
The second phase will cost `90 crore and will include asphalting the 21-km stretch from Gulagalale to Heggadde and concretisation of the 31-km long road from Kempuhole to Addahole. The work is expected to be completed in three months. Last year’s work was delayed for months due to rain.
A senior KSRTC official said, “Around 1,000 buses ply on this route from either side. Every day 272 schedules are operated on this route. If the road is closed, the buses will have to use alternative routes through Madikeri and Chikkamagaluru. So each bus will have to ply 30-45 km extra to reach Shiradi.”
“This is the peak tourist season and hence the closure will also have an impact on passengers willing to reach Shiradi. We have to bear the extra expense as putting the cost of the extra travel on passengers is not an option. Approximately, each day, the corporation will suffer a loss of around `2 lakh, with each bus incurring an additional cost of `1,000 to 1,200,” said the official.
KSRTC is not willing to make passengers bear the additional cost as the route is also frequented by private bus services and an increase in ticket prices will only lead to it losing passengers to private players. Meanwhile, Mahadevappa said that tunnelling is also being considered on the stretch and will be taken up once it is cleared by the environmental committee.
Japan International Cooperation Agency is looking into the viability of the project estimated to cost `10,000 crore.