The issues of poor condition of National Highway 66 and sand extraction dominated the general body meeting of the Udupi Zilla Panchayat here on Saturday.

Raising the issue, Janardhan Tonse, a ZP member, said he has been raising the issue of construction of a foot overbridge at Kallianpur-Santhekatte on NH 66 for a year, but there has been no response from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

“Kallianpur-Santhekatte is a major junction. It is difficult for people, especially students, to cross the highway. This is leading to accidents. There is no proper bus stand there either. There are large potholes on NH 66 owing to heavy rains, but no repair work had been taken up,” he said.

Gururaj, independent engineer for the NHAI, said he had submitted a report on this matter to the NHAI and Navayuga Company, which is carrying out the NH 66 widening work.

Raghupati Bhat, MLA, said he had spoken to both the NHAI and the company, and they had assured him that repair of the potholes would be taken up once the rains subsided.

Pratapchandra Shetty, MLC, said lack of availability of sand was also affecting construction of houses under the government housing schemes for the poor in the district. There are a lot of irregularities in sand extraction and there should be a probe into this, he said.

An officer from the Mines and Geology Department said that monsoon was on and the process of identifying sand bars would begin in August. Mr. Bhat said the District Sand Monitoring Committee should include elected representatives. The sand extracted should not be allowed to cross the borders of the district, he added. He also said that some primary health centres in the district should be given to Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) and Nitte University as there were not enough government doctors to man them.

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