Road connectivity plays an important role in the development of any port. Predominantly, four major highway networks connect the New Mangalore Port (NMP) with the hinterland. There is an urgent need to provide better road connectivity between the port and its hinterland, say various stakeholders.

While National Highway (NH) 66, which runs parallel to the Karnataka coastline, connects Mangaluru with southern and northern parts of the country; other networks – NH 73, NH 75 and NH 275 – connect it with Bengaluru and other parts of the state.

Urgent need

Gaurav Hegde, Chairman of CII-Mangaluru, said NMP is operating at around 53 per cent of its capacity. Stating that the ghat section which separates the coast in Karnataka with the rest of the state is a challenge for smooth road connectivity.

Shekar Pujari, President of NMP Stevedores Association, concurring with Hegde said there is an urgent need to improve the road connectivity to the hinterland for the smooth movement of traffic to the port.

According to M Ganesh Kamath, President of Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the chamber has been urging the Centre to complete the work on conversion of two national highways – NH 75 (passes through Hassan) and NH 275 (passes through Madikeri and Mysuru) – into four-lane ones at the earliest. This will help provide seamless connectivity between Mangaluru and the hinterland.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai who was in Mangaluru recently, said that the government would soon take up road improvement works on this stretch.

In one of the recent meetings with the stakeholders, MK Wathore, General Manager, Bengaluru regional office of National Highways Authority of India, said Karnataka has around 300 km of coastline on NH 66 connecting the port to the northern parts of the country. One section of this is from Goa border to Kundapur in Udupi district of around 187 km. Of this, the four-lane work on 173 km has been completed. Some stretches could not be completed because of land acquisition and other issues. The other section is from Kundapur to Kerala border (near Mangaluru) with a length of 90 km. This has been put into use, he said.

To further improve connectivity, a section from Karkala taluk in Udupi district to Mangaluru is proposed for development to a four-lane facility, he added.