19th February 2011
The road I am mentioning here starts from Belgaum, goes via a small town of Jamboti and winds down the Chorla ghat to reach Panaji. This is a short cut when compared to the normally used National Highway 4A. But never think of taking this short cut!!
The road is good for the first 20km. As you are happy about the roads finally getting better in Karnataka, you cross the Jamboti town. The scenery suddenly improves with greenery all round. But the people will not be in a position to enjoy the beauty of the nature. One cannot go above 15km/hr!!!! The trees next to the road are all covered by a layer of dust giving an impression of mining area.
The next 40km is an absolute nightmare for all people travelling on this road. I was happy for not being on the driver seat. Thanks to the warning that I received earlier, I subdued my urge to drive all the way from Bengaluru. It was surprising to see several KSRTC and Goa state buses on this road. It is difficult to find a passenger who has not covered his nose and mouth with a piece of cloth!!
An hour journey from Jamboti brings us to a fairly big village of Kanakumbi. It would have been a peaceful village amidst the evergreen forests. But not anymore. Karnataka Government is busy building a huge tunnel to divert water from Mahadevi River. This controversial Kalasa Bhanduri project aims to bring some drinking water to Hubli-Dharwad. But those towns are very far from the project site. Was there no simpler solution? Controversies aside, this project is causing immense damage to the forests in this area. The Lorries, mud, slush and dust dominate the peaceful place in western ghat. I remember a Politician saying that this project is the most environmental friendly. I hate him. It is nothing but a loot of natural resources by greedy Government people.
It looks like a serious effort is going on to improve the road from Jamboti to Project area. This is not to help the locals but its people who have to come to the project area frequently. Government guys should not suffer.
The road after Kanakumbi deteriorates further. The villages on the way look very backward when compared to the ones in Malnad area. The negligence is shocking.
It took almost 3 hours to reach Goa border. And guess what…. A smooth road suddenly appears. There is no welcome sign for entering Goa. But the great road on the other side of the border takes care of it!!