Chikkamagaluru: The closure of Charmadi Ghat road has not only inconvenienced the residents on both sides of the hillock, but has also pinched their pockets.
The Charmadi Ghat road is the lifeline of thousands of people staying on both sides of the ghat section. Every day, thousands of people use the road to reach educational institutions and hospitals in Dakshina Kannada district. However, for the past two months, with the ghat section developing cracks, the commuters are forced to cross the road in jeeps spending Rs 100 to travel 35 kilometres between Kottigehara in Chikkamagaluru and Ujire in Dakshina Kannada. The administration has banned KSRTC and other buses from plying on this road.
Meanwhile, Banakal police said they issued a warning to the jeep drivers and agreed to bring down the fare to Rs 80.
According to localse who frequently use this road to reach Ujire, Moodbidri and Mangaluru, buses have stopped plying on Charmadi Ghat road since the second week of August. “Now, only light vehicles are allowed. The jeeps have become the lifeline for all. They charge Rs 100 per seat between Kottigehara and Ujire and ferry 10 passengers per trip,” said Vignesh Nayak, a resident of Kottigehara.
“The nearest super speciality hospital is in Ujire. Most of the students of Mudigere, NR Pura and Koppa join coastal educational institutions for higher studies. They are left with no options other than paying this huge amount,” said Jyothi Gowda, a student studying in a Belthangady college.
According to Banakal police, they were aware of the issue but can’t issue any written order putting a cap on the fare. “We issued a warning to the jeep drivers against exploitation. They agreed to ferry passengers for Rs 80,” said an officer.
Meanwhile, sources said that the ban on movement of heavy vehicles on Charmadi Ghat section will continue for an indefinite period. As per the order issued by deputy commissioner Bagadi Gautham, vehicles can move on this road only between 6am and 6pm.
Meanwhile, KSRTC officials said they would not operate any buses including 38-seat mini buses till the district administration gives permission. “The ghat section is getting heavy rains even today. When there is a ban order on the movement of heavy vehicles, we can't operate. We will resume service on this road only after receiving a green signal from the district administration," said Nagaraja Murthy BS, divisional controller-incharge (DC), KSRTC, Chikkamagaluru.